Plateau or the Persian Plateau is a geological
Western Asia and Central Asia. It is the part of the
Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated
Zagros Mountains to the west, the
Caspian Sea and the
Kopet Dag to the north, the
Armenian Highlands and the Caucasus
Mountains in the northwest, the
Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz and
Persian Gulf to
the south and the
Indus River to the east in Pakistan.
As a historical region, it includes Parthia, Media, Persis, the
Iran and some of the previous territories of Greater
Zagros Mountains form the plateau's western boundary, and
its eastern slopes may be included in the term. The Encyclopædia
Britannica excludes "lowland Khuzestan" explicitly and
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,
Plateau extends for close to 2,000 km. It encompasses
the greater part of Iran,
Pakistan west of the Indus
River on an area roughly outlined by the quadrangle formed by the
cities of Tabriz, Shiraz,
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 at 5610
m, and the
Dasht-e Loot east of
Kerman in Central
Iran falling below
2.1 Mountain ranges
2.2 Rivers and plains
8 See also
10 External links
In geology, the plateau region of
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
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).
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 with the Eurasian plate. In this definition, the Iranian
plateau does not cover southwestern Iran. It extends from East
Azerbaijan Province in northwest of
Iran (Persia) all the way to
Pakistan west of the Indus River. It also includes smaller parts of
Republic of Azerbaijan
Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Its mountain ranges can be divided into five major sub-regions (see
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, is located in the
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; the
Tigris join in
Iraq before emptying into
the Persian Gulf. Several small streams that empty into the Black Sea
Lake Van also originate in these mountains. The Indus
River begins in the highlands of
Tibet and flows the length of
Pakistan almost tracing the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau. The
Indus River forms the Iranian plateau's eastern boundary.[citation
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
Sabalan 4,811 m (15,784 ft)
Damavand 5,610 m (18,410 ft)
Central Iranian Plateau
Kūh-e Hazār 4,500 m (14,800 ft)
Kuh-e Jebal Barez
Eastern Iranian Ranges
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
2,920 m (9,580 ft) 33°32′N 57°14′E / 33.533°N
57.233°E / 33.533; 57.233
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
Hamun-e Jaz Murian
Main articles: Greater
Iran and History of Iran
Further information: Airyanem Vaejah
In the Bronze Age,
Elam stretched across the Zagros mountains,
Mesopotamia and the Iranian Plateau. The kingdoms of Aratta
known from cuneiform sources may have been located in the Central
In classical antiquity the region was known as Persia, due to the
Persian Achaemenid dynasty, originating in
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)
Sassanid period (see Etymology of Iran).
Further information: Prehistoric archaeological sites in Iran
Archaeological sites and cultures of the Iranian plateau include:
Plateau ("Jiroft culture")
Zayandeh River Civilization
Qaleh Bozi Caves
The plateau has historical oak and poplar forests.
Oak forests are
found around Shiraz. Aspen, elm, ash, willow, walnut, pine, and
cypress are also found, though the latter two are rare. As of 1920,
poplar was harvested for making doors.
Elm was used for ploughs. Other
trees like acacia, cypress, and
Turkestan elm were used for decorative
purposes. Flower wise, the plateau can grow lilac, jasmine, and roses.
Cercis siliquastrum are common, which are both used for
The plateau is abundant with wildlife including leopards, bears,
hyenas, wild boars, ibex, gazelles, and mouflons. These animals are
mostly found in the wooded mountains of the plateau. The shores of the
Caspian Sea and the
Persian Gulf house aquatic birds such as seagulls,
ducks, and geese. Deer, hedgehogs, foxes, and 22 species of rodents
are found in semidesert, and palm squirrels and Asiatic black bears
live in Baluchistan.
Wide variety of amphibians and reptiles such as toads, frogs,
tortoises, lizards, salamanders, racers, rat snakes (Ptyas), cat
snakes (Tarbophis fallax), and vipers live the
Baluchistan region and
along the slopes of the Elburz and Zagros mountains. 200 varieties of
fish live in the Persian Gulf. 30 species of the most important
commercial fish Sturgeon is found in the Caspian Sea. 
The Iranian plateau harvests trees for making doors, ploughs, and
Fruit is grown also. Pears, apples, apricots, quince, plums,
nectarines, cherries, mulberries, and peaches were commonly seen in
the 20th century. Almonds and pistachios are common in warmer areas.
Dates, oranges, grapes, melon, and limes are also grown. Other edibles
include potatoes and cauliflower, which were hard to grow until
European settlement brought irrigation improvements. Other vegetables
include cabbage, tomatoes, artichokes, cucumbers, spinach, radishes,
lettuce, and eggplants.
The plateau also produces wheat, barley, millet, beans, opium, cotton,
lucerne, and tobacco. The barley is fed mainly to horses.
grown and made into sesame oil.
Mushrooms and manna were also seen in
the plateau area as of 1920.
Caraway is grown in the Kerman
Geography of Iran
List of Iranian four-thousanders
^ Robert H. Dyson. The archaeological evidence of the second
millennium B.C. on the Persian plateau. ISBN 0-521-07098-8.
^ James Bell (1832). A System of Geography, Popular and Scientific.
Archibald Fullarton. pp. 7,284,287,288.
^ Old Iranian Online, University of Texas College of Liberal Arts
(retrieved 10 February 2007)
^ s.v. "ancient Iran"
^ s.v. "Elamite language"
^ "Iranian Plateau". Peakbagger.com.
^ a b c Sykes, Percy (1921). A History of Persia. London: Macmillan
and Company. pp. 75–76.
^ Zarubezhnaia Aziia: Fizicheskaia geografiia. Moscow, 1956.
^ Petrov, M. P. Iran: Fiziko-geograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1955.
Y. Majidzadeh, Sialk III and the Pottery Sequence at Tepe Ghabristan.
The Coherence of the Cultures of the Central Iranian Plateau,
"Iranian Plateau". Peakbagger.com.
"Central Iranian Plateau". Peakbagger.com.
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