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Types of Plains

A plain is a flat area of land in geography that typically has little variation in elevation and is mostly devoid of trees. Lowlands in...

A plain is a flat area of land in geography that typically has little variation in elevation and is mostly devoid of trees. Lowlands in valleys or at the foot of mountains, Coastal Plains, and Plateaus or uplands are all examples of plains. The three different types of plains are:

  1. Structural Plains
  2. Erosional Plains
  3. Depositional Plains
  4. Glacial Plains
Structural plains
  • These plains are created mainly by lifting a portion of the continental shelf or seabed.
  • Nearly all of the major continents’ borders are where you can find these.

Example: The elevation of a portion of the Gulf of Mexico led to the formation of the United States southeasterly plain.

  • The uplift of a portion of the continental shelf or seafloor is the main process that results in the formation of structural plains.
  • You can discover these features along the borders of nearly every major continent.
  • The southeastern plain of the United States reveals a plain that formed when a portion of the Gulf of Mexico was uplifted.
  • Land subsidence could create structural plains as well.
  • One such plan is in Australia’s central lowlands.
Erosional plains
  • All types of highlands are continuously and slowly eroded to create these plains.
  • These plains barely have a flat surface.
  • Therefore, people sometimes call them peneplains, which is French for “almost a plain.”

Example: The West Siberian Plain and the Canadian Shield.

Depositional plains
  • Plains formed by deposition of materials brought by various agents of transportation.
  • Comparatively of equal level but rise gently towards adjacent highlands.
  • Depositional work by rivers form extensive alluvial plains, flood plains & deltaic plains; that form most productive agricultural plains of the world.
  • For ex. Gangetic plain (for rice & jute), Nile delta of Egypt (for rice & cotton) & Hwang ho plain in China.

Example: The Indo Gangetic plain.

  • Rivers deposit sediments over an extended period, creating alluvial plains. These plains are exceptionally fertile because of the nature of sediments deposited by the river.
    • Alluvial plains are quite similar to flood plains.
    • Over time, as floods occur, they create a vast, flat expanse of land known as an alluvial plain.
  • Flood plains, as referred to above, are plains formed by frequent floods. Flood plains over a large period create alluvial plains.
  • Lacustrine plains are plains that are created in what originally was the bed of a lake.
  • Flowing sheets of lava create lava plains.
Glacial Plains
  • Glacial Depositional plains
  • Glaciers & ice sheets may deposit fluvio glacial sands & gravels in outwash plains.
  • May also drop boulder clay (mixture of various sizes of boulders & clay) to form till plain or drift plain.
  • Outwash plains are usually barren lands but boulder clay may be very valuable for farming.
Abyssal plain

A flat or very gently sloping area of the deep ocean basin.

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