mesa  vs  plateau

The great relief features brought about by the action of natural elements such as rain, water, rock erosion and other weather conditions created the elevated landforms. Mesa and plateau are some of these creations in which, surrounded by plain flat top area and often misconstrued by the people since they appear similar in appearance.

  Mesa Plateau
Derivation Spanish word meaning Table French word platel for flat
Denote Medium size flat top hill or mountain Very big flat topped hill or mountain
Size Smaller Bigger
How it is formed Previously plain land  with continuous erosion lending to its elevated state, the top portion resisting erosion due to rocks underneath. Came into being thru  erosion, volcanic activity and tectonic or seismic activity

The mesa landform is smaller in geographical size than a plateau. It has a flat plain surface on its crest with steep slopes. One good example of this landform is the Grand Mesa. It has a river or stream that flows beside it.

On the other hand, the plateau is a landform similar to a mesa, having a plain surface on its top with steep slopes but in this time larger than a mesa. One good example of this type of landform is the Colorado Plateau. Some of these landforms have lowland areas covered on all sides and bordered by a river flowing on one of its sides. The highest plateau in the world is found in the Himalayan region called as the Tibetan plateau. The constant erosion caused by glaciers and rivers made the plateaus a flat surface on its top and does not have a peak.


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