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The PERSIAN PLATEAU, or IRANIAN PLATEAU, is a geological formation in Western Asia
Western Asia
and Central Asia
Central Asia
. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros Mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Armenian Highlands
Armenian Highlands
and the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
in the northwest, the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
and Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
to the south and the Indus River
Indus River
to the east in Pakistan
Pakistan
.

As a historical region, it includes Parthia , Media , Persis , the heartlands of Iran
Iran
and some of its recently lost territories . The Zagros Mountains form the plateau's western boundary, and its eastern slopes may be included in the term. The Encyclopædia Britannica excludes "lowland Khuzestan
Khuzestan
" explicitly and characterizes Elam
Elam
as spanning "the region from the Mesopotamian plain to the Iranian Plateau".

From the Caspian in the northwest to Baluchistan in the south-east, the Iranian Plateau
Plateau
extends for close to 2,000 km. It encompasses the greater part of Iran
Iran
, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Pakistan
Pakistan
west of the Indus River on an area roughly outlined by the quadrangle formed by the cities of Tabriz
Tabriz
, Shiraz
Shiraz
, Peshawar
Peshawar
and Quetta
Quetta
containing some 3,700,000 square kilometres (1,400,000 sq mi). In spite of being called a "plateau", it is far from flat but contains several mountain ranges, the highest peak being Damavand in the Alborz
Alborz
at 5610 m, and the Dasht-e Loot east of Kerman
Kerman
in Central Iran
Iran
falling below 300 m.

CONTENTS

* 1 Geology
Geology

* 2 Geography

* 2.1 Mountain ranges * 2.2 Rivers and plains

* 3 History * 4 Archaeology * 5 Flora * 6 Economy * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links

GEOLOGY

In geology, the plateau region of Iran
Iran
primarily formed of the accretionary Gondwanan terranes between the Turan platform to the north and the Main Zagros Thrust, the suture zone between the northward moving Arabian plate
Arabian plate
and the Eurasian continent, is called the Iranian plateau. It is a geologically well-studied area because of general interest in continental collision zones, and because of Iran's long history of research in geology , particularly in economic geology (although Iran's major petroleum reserves are not in the plateau).

GEOGRAPHY

Caspian Sea Persian Gulf Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Indus Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
Sabalan
Sabalan
Urmia Alborz
Alborz
Kopet Dag N Zagros S Zagros Oshtoran-Kūh Zard-Kūh Shir-Kūh Barez Hazaran Dasht-e Kavir Dasht-e Lut Hamun Balochistan
Balochistan

The Iranian plateau in geology refers to a geographical area north of the great folded mountain belts resulting from the collision of the Arabian plate
Arabian plate
with the Eurasian plate
Eurasian plate
. In this definition, the Iranian plateau does not cover southwestern Iran. It extends from East Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Province in northwest of Iran
Iran
(Persia) all the way to Pakistan
Pakistan
west of the Indus River
Indus River
. It also includes smaller parts of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Republic of Azerbaijan
and Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
.

Its mountain ranges can be divided into five major sub-regions (see below ).

The Northwestern Iranian Plateau, where the Pontic and Taurus Mountains converge, is rugged country with higher elevations, a more severe climate, and greater precipitation than are found on the Anatolian Plateau. The region is known as the Anti-Taurus , and the average elevation of its peaks exceeds 3,000 m. Mount Ararat , at 5,137 meters (16,854 ft) the highest point in Turkey
Turkey
, is located in the Anti-Taurus. Lake Van is situated in the mountains at an elevation of 1,546 meters (5,072 ft).

The headwaters of major rivers arise in the Anti-Taurus: the east-flowing Aras River , which empties into the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
; the south-flowing Euphrates
Euphrates
and Tigris
Tigris
join in Iraq
Iraq
before emptying into the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
. Several small streams that empty into the Black Sea or landlocked Lake Van also originate in these mountains. The Indus River begins in the highlands of Tibet
Tibet
and flows the length of Pakistan
Pakistan
almost tracing the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau. The Indus River
Indus River
forms the Iranian plateau's eastern boundary.

Southeast Anatolia
Anatolia
lies south of the Anti-Taurus Mountains. It is a region of rolling hills and a broad plateau surface that extends into Syria. Elevations decrease gradually, from about 800 meters (2,600 ft) in the north to about 500 meters (1,600 ft) in the south. Traditionally, wheat and barley are the main crops of the region.

MOUNTAIN RANGES

* Northwest Iran
Iran
Ranges

* Sabalan
Sabalan
4,811 m (15,784 ft)

* Alborz
Alborz

* Damavand 5,610 m (18,410 ft)

* Central Iranian Plateau
Plateau

* Kūh-e Hazār 4,500 m (14,800 ft) * Kuh-e Jebal Barez

* Eastern Iranian Ranges

* Kopet Dag

* Kuh-e Siah Khvani 3,314 m (10,873 ft) 36°17′N 59°3′E / 36.283°N 59.050°E / 36.283; 59.050

* Eshdeger Range

* 2,920 m (9,580 ft) 33°32′N 57°14′E / 33.533°N 57.233°E / 33.533; 57.233

* Balochistan
Balochistan

* Sikaram 4,755 m (15,600 ft) 34°2′N 69°54′E / 34.033°N 69.900°E / 34.033; 69.900 * Kuh-e Taftan 3,941 m (12,930 ft) 28°36′N 61°8′E / 28.600°N 61.133°E / 28.600; 61.133 * Zargun 3,578 m (11,739 ft) 30°16′N 67°18′E / 30.267°N 67.300°E / 30.267; 67.300

RIVERS AND PLAINS

* Kavir Desert * Lut Desert

* Hamun-e Jaz Murian

* Halil River

* Gavkhouni

* Zayandeh River

* Sistan Basin

* Helmand River
Helmand River
* Farah River

HISTORY

Main articles: Greater Iran
Iran
and History of Iran
Iran
Further information: Airyanem Vaejah

In the Bronze Age, Elam
Elam
stretched across the Zagros mountains, connecting Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and the Iranian Plateau. The kingdoms of Aratta known from cuneiform sources may have been located in the Central Iranian Plateau.

In classical antquity the region was known as Persia
Persia
, due to the Persian Achaemenid dynasty , originating in Persia
Persia
proper, or Fars .

The Middle Persian Erān (whence Modern Persian Irān ) began to be used in reference to the state (rather than as an ethnic designator) from the Sassanid period (see Etymology of Iran
Iran
).

ARCHAEOLOGY

Further information: Prehistoric archaeological sites in Iran
Iran

Archaeological sites and cultures of the Iranian plateau include:

* Central Iranian Plateau
Plateau
(" Jiroft culture ")

* Shahr-i Sokhta * Konar Sandal * Tepe Yahya
Tepe Yahya

* Zayandeh River Civilization * Tappeh Sialk

* Paleolithic
Paleolithic
sites

* Niasar * Sefid-Ab * Kaftar Khoun * Qaleh Bozi Caves * Mirak * Delazian * Tabas * Masileh

FLORA

The plateau has historical oak and poplar forests. Oak