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In
geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10. ...

geography
, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in
elevation The elevation of a geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

elevation
, and is primarily treeless. Plains occur as
lowland in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washi ...
s along
valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion of the land surface by rivers or streams over a ...

valley
s or at the base of
mountains A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust 350px, Plates in the crust of Earth Earth's crust is a thin shell on the outside of Earth, accounting for less than 1% of Earth's volume. It is the top component of the lithosphere, a ...

mountains
, as
coastal plain A coastal plain is flat, low-lying land adjacent to a sea coast. A fall line A fall line (or fall zone) is the area where an upland region and a coastal plain meet and is typically prominent where rivers cross it, with resulting rapids or waterf ...
s, and as
plateau In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the proces ...

plateau
s or
uplands
uplands
. In a valley, a plain is enclosed on two sides, but in other cases a plain may be delineated by a complete or partial ring of hills, by mountains, or by
cliff upEurope's highest cliff, Troll Wall in Norway, a famous BASE jumping location for jumpers from around the world.">BASE_jumping.html" ;"title="Troll Wall in Norway, a famous BASE jumping">Troll Wall in Norway, a famous BASE jumping location ...

cliff
s. Where a geological region contains more than one plain, they may be connected by a
pass Pass, PASS, The Pass or Passed may refer to: Places *Pass, County Meath, a townland in Ireland *Pass, Poland, a village in Poland *Pass (strait), Pass, an alternate term for a number of straits: see List of straits *Mountain pass, a lower place ...

pass
(sometimes termed a gap). Coastal plains mostly rise from
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in the ...

sea level
until they run into elevated features such as mountains or plateaus. Plains are one of the major
landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws o ...

landform
s on earth, where they are present on all continents, and cover more than one-third of the world's land area. Plains can be formed from flowing
lava Lava is magma once it has been expelled from the interior of a terrestrial planet (such as Earth) or a Natural satellite, moon onto its surface. Lava may be erupted at a volcano or through a Fissure vent, fracture in the Crust (geology), crust, ...

lava
; from deposition of sediment by water, ice, or wind; or formed by
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
by the agents from hills and mountains. Biomes on plains include
grassland Grasslands are areas where the vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the plant kingdom encompassed all living things t ...

grassland
(
temperate In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use ...
or
subtropical The subtropical zones or subtropics are geographical zone, geographical and Köppen climate classification, climate zones located to the north and south of the tropics, Torrid Zone. Geographically part of the Geographical zone#Temperate zones, ...

subtropical
),
steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may ...

steppe
(
semi-arid A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables ove ...
),
savannah A savanna or savannah is a mixed woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the '' plurale tantum'' woods), a low-density forest A forest is an ...

savannah
(
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to ...
) or
tundra In physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the ...

tundra
(
polar Polar may refer to: Geography Polar may refer to: * Geographical pole, either of two fixed points on the surface of a rotating body or planet, at 90 degrees from the equator, based on the axis around which a body rotates *Polar climate, the clim ...
). In a few instances,
desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali">Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab ...

desert
s and
rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape), aboveground portion of grapevine Religi ...

rainforest
s may also be considered plains. Plains in many areas are important for
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of , whereby farming of species created food that enabled people to live in cities. The began thousands of ...

agriculture
because where the soils were deposited as
sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weathering is the deterioration of rocks A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is cate ...

sediment
s they may be deep and
fertile Fertility is the quality of being able to produce children. As a measure, the fertility rate is the average number of children that a woman has in her lifetime and is quantified demographically. Fertility is most commonly considered when there ...
, and the flatness facilitates mechanization of crop production; or because they support grasslands which provide good grazing for
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable ...
.


Types of plain


Depositional plains

The types of depositional plains include: *
Abyssal plain Depiction of the abyssal zone in relation to other major oceanic zones">oceanic_zone.html" ;"title="abyssal zone in relation to other major oceanic zone">abyssal zone in relation to other major oceanic zones An abyssal plain is an underwater pl ...
s, flat or very gently sloping areas of the deep ocean basin. *
Planitia In geography, a plain is a flat expanse of land that generally does not change much in elevation. Plains occur as lowlands along valleys or on the doorsteps of mountains, as coastal plains, and as plateaus or Highland, uplands. In a valley, a pla ...
, the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...
word for plain, is used in the naming of plains on extraterrestrial objects (planets and moons), such as
Hellas Planitia instrument of ''Mars Global Surveyor''. The crater depth is below the standard topographic datum (geodesy), datum of Mars. MGS radio science measured 11.50 mbar at 34.4° S 59.6° E −7152 meters Hellas Planitia is a Planitia, plain located w ...

Hellas Planitia
on
Mars Mars is the fourth planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to ...

Mars
or
Sedna Planitia Sedna Planitia is a large lowland area of Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural objec ...
on Venus. * Alluvial plains, which are formed by rivers and which may be one of these overlapping types: ** Alluvial plains, formed over a long period of time by a river depositing sediment on their flood plains or beds, which become alluvial soil. The difference between a flood plain and an alluvial plain is: a flood plain represents areas experiencing flooding fairly regularly in the present or recently, whereas an alluvial plain includes areas where a flood plain is now and used to be, or areas which only experience flooding a few times a century. ** Flood plain, adjacent to a lake, river, stream, or wetland that experiences occasional or periodic flooding. ** Scroll plain, a plain through which a river meanders with a very low gradient. * Glacial plains, formed by the movement of glaciers under the force of gravity: ** Outwash plain (also known as sandur; plural sandar), a glacial out-wash plain formed of sediments deposited by melt-water at the terminus of a glacier. Sandar consist mainly of stratified (layered and sorted) gravel and sand. ** Till plains, plain of glacial till that form when a sheet of ice becomes detached from the main body of a glacier and melts in place depositing the
sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering Weathering is the deterioration of rocks A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is cate ...

sediment
s it carries. Till plains are composed of unsorted material (till) of all sizes. * Lacustrine plains, plains that originally formed in a lacustrine environment, that is, as the bed of a lake. * Lava plains, formed by sheets of flowing
lava Lava is magma once it has been expelled from the interior of a terrestrial planet (such as Earth) or a Natural satellite, moon onto its surface. Lava may be erupted at a volcano or through a Fissure vent, fracture in the Crust (geology), crust, ...

lava
.


Erosional plains

Erosional plains have been leveled by various agents of denudation such as running water, rivers, wind and glacier which wear out the rugged surface and smoothens them. Plain resulting from the action of these agents of denudation are called ''peneplains'' (almost plain) while plains formed from wind action are called ''pediplains''.


Structural plains

Structural plains are relatively undisturbed horizontal surfaces of the Earth. They are structurally depressed areas of the world that make up some of the most extensive natural lowlands on the Earth's surface.


Notable examples

file:Store Mosse Stora Gungflyet.jpg, View of the South Småland peneplain at Store Mosse National Park in Sweden.


Americas


Caribbean and South America

* Altiplano (Bolivia, Chile) * Altiplano Cundiboyacense (Colombia) * Caroni Plain (Trinidad and Tobago) * Chilean Central Valley ** ** Los Llanos, Chile, Los Llanos * Gran Chaco (Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay) * Llanos (Colombia and Venezuela) * Pampas (Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil) * Coastal plains of Chile


North America

* Atlantic coastal plain (United States) * Carrizo Plain (California, United States) * Great Plains (Canada and United States) * Gulf Coastal Plain (Mexico and United States) * Interior Plains (Canada and United States) * Lake Superior Lowland (Wisconsin, United States) * Laramie Plains (Wyoming) * Mississippi Alluvial Plain (Mississippi) * Oxnard Plain (Ventura County, California) * Snake River Plain (Idaho)


Asia


Eastern Asia

* Chianan Plain (Taiwan) * Depsang Plains (China and India) * Honam Plain (South Korea) * Kantō Plain (Japan) * Kedu Plain (Indonesia) * Kewu Plain (Indonesia) * Mallig Plains (Philippines) * Nōbi Plain (Japan) * North China Plain (China) * Osaka Plain (Japan) * Pingtung Plain (Taiwan) * Sarobetsu plain (Japan) * Yilan Plain (Taiwan)


North Asia

* West Siberian Plain (Russia)


South Asia

* Bhuikhel (Nepal) * Depsang Plains (India and China) * Dooars (India and Bhutan) * Eastern coastal plains (India) * Indo-Gangetic Plains (Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan) * More plains (India) * North Bengal plains (Bangladesh and India) * Punjab Plains (Pakistan and India) * Terai (India and Nepal) * Utkal Plains (India) * Western coastal plains (India)


Western Asia

* Al-Ghab Plain (Syria) * Aleppo plateau (Syria) * Ararat plain (Armenia and Turkey) * Israeli coastal plain (Israel) * Khuzestan Plain (Iran) * Mugan plain (Azerbaijan and Iran) * Nineveh Plains (Iraqi Kurdistan) * Shiraki Plain (Georgia (country), Georgia)


Europe


Central Europe

* Limagne (France) * North German Plain * Ochsenfeld (France) * Pannonian Basin (Central Europe) * Parndorf Plain (Austria) * Westphalian Lowland (Germany)


Eastern Europe

* Bărăgan Plain (Romania) * Danubian Plain (Bulgaria), Danubian Plain (Bulgaria) * Dnieper Lowland (Ukraine) * East European Plain * European Plain * Great Hungarian Plain * Kosovo field (region), Kosovo field (Kosovo) * Little Hungarian Plain (Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia) * Pannonian Steppe (Hungary) * Polesian Lowland (Ukraine and Belarus) * Upper Thracian Plain (Bulgaria) * Wallachian Plain (Romania)


Northern Europe

* Cheshire Plain (England) * Hardangervidda (Norway) * Kaffiøyra (Svalbard, Norway) * Muddus plains (Sweden) * North European Plain * North Northumberland Coastal Plain (Northern England) * North Somerset Levels (North Somerset, England) * Salisbury Plain (England) * Solway Plain (Cumbria, England) * Somerset Levels (Somerset, England) * South Coast Plain (Hampshire and Sussex, England) * South Småland peneplain (Sweden) * Stora Alvaret (Öland, Sweden) * Strandflat (Norway) * Sub-Cambrian peneplain (Nordic countries) ** Central Swedish lowland ** Ostrobothnian Plain (Finland) * The Fylde (Lancashire, England)


Southern Europe

* Agro Nocerino Sarnese (Italy) * Campidano (Italy) * Lelantine Plain (Greece) * Mesaoria (Cyprus) * Messara Plain (Greece) * Nurra (Sardinia, Italy) * Po Valley (Italy) * Rieti Valley (Central Italy) * Tavoliere delle Puglie (Southern Italy)


Oceania


Australia

* Bogong High Plains (Victorian Alps, Australia) * Cumberland Plain (Sydney, Australia) * Esperance Plains (Western Australia) * Molonglo Plain (Australian Capital Territory) * Mulga Lands (eastern Australia) * Nullarbor Plain (Southern Australia) * Ord Victoria Plain (Northern Australia) * Swan Coastal Plain (Perth, Australia)


New Zealand

* Awarua Plains (Southland, New Zealand, Southland) * Canterbury Plains (Canterbury, New Zealand, Canterbury) * Hauraki Plains (Waikato) * Maniototo (Otago) * Taieri Plains, Taieri (Otago)


See also

* * * * * * * * * *


References


External links

* {{Authority control Plains, Slope landforms Agricultural land Grasslands Meadows Geography terminology