Plains are flat surfaces at low levels, while plateaus are flat surfaces on top of a raised area. Plateaus often form out of mountains that are worn down at the top to be flatter.
Over the course of millennia, rain and other environmental factors wear down a mountain with a jagged peak so that it is flat on top even though it still rises off the ground. Plateaus are further subdivided into additional types such as buttes and mesas. Buttes have a completely flat surface on top. Mesas are more rounded forms of plateaus. In contrast, plains are flat but at low elevation. Examples of plains in real life include the Russian Steppes and the Eurasian Plains.
In terms of human settlement, people favor plateaus when they wanted increased protection from invasion and natural elements. Colonizing peoples favor plains because access to rivers and streams is more important. Farmland is often easier to access on plains as well. It is hard to build any type of road or transportation network on plateaus, so groups that want to build roads favor plains over plateaus as well. Plains are more accessible and plentiful, so plains are often colonized over plateau areas which are hard to travel to, as they are usually remote.Learn More
Coastal plains are flat, low-lying pieces of land that feature a body of water on one side and some type of landform on the other. According to National Geographic, a coastal plain can form either as a continental shelf or when water currents carry sedimentary materials that build up over time.Full Answer >
The Great Plains, Eurasian Steppe, Pampas and Bushveld are some of the world's major plains regions. Plains are flat regions that exist as either lowlands or plateaus.Full Answer >
Outwash plains form when melt from glaciers deposit sand, sediments, gravel and clay along broad, sloping land. These landforms can be created quickly due to rapid water action and are often several layers thick due to irregular water flow from seasonal melting and refreezing.Full Answer >
Artesian wells form when water flows through a permeable rock from a higher area to the area of the well. Artesian wells produce water flow without any additional pumping because of the water pressure in the rock, so they require a layer of impermeable rock beneath the permeable rock to block the flow downward. Thus, when a well is dug into the permeable rock, the water flows out under pressure.Full Answer >