I need a huge natural plateau to form but with a slope. There can be some variation, a few hills or even mountains here and there, but the ground needs to be mostly gently sloping north to south.

It needs to be a huge plateau preferably 1000-2000+ miles on a side. The greater the size and slope the better, this will be limited by physical restrictions on how high land can get and plausible mechanisms for formation.

Assume the starting point is similar to planet Earth but you have the ability to rearrange continents and propose any physically possible processes that might lead to such a situation. Modest changes to Earth's structure are permitted but it must remain human habitable.

What processes could form such a structure and how big might it reasonably be?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Earth has plenty of very large mountainless areas. The Canadian Shield and Arctic Lowlands, the Great Plains in North America, the East European Plain, or the East African Plateau, or the Central Siberian Plateau... And of course the fascinating Tibetan Plateau. (I don't get the "with a slope" part. No plateau is purely horizontal.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ How high is the upper part of your plateau needs to be? Even if it is Tibet-high, over 1000-2000 miles the slope would be very gradual. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ That is true. it would be a gradual slope but water should flow down it. It can be as high as possibe probably around 10km up at the northern end as I don't think the crust would bear much more than that.. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


It sounds like what you're describing is just a continent that's higher in the north than in the south. All you need there is a continental collision where your 'plateau' continent starts riding up over the one it's colliding with. That's exactly how the Himalayas happened, and unless I'm missing something, the entire Indian Subcontinent is a perfect example of what you're asking about.

The other mechanism that traditionally forms plateaus is volcanic, and we have real-world examples of that right here on Earth too. The Thulean Plateau existed about sixty million years ago and was formed by massive eruptions by the volcanic hotspot that's currently under Iceland. I'm not sure you could realistically get a plateau as large as what you're describing that way, because the kind of tectonic activity required to barf up that much magma would also tend to break up the landscape rather than leaving you with the single contiguous landform you're talking about.

  • $\begingroup$ That's a good start, but I was rather hoping for a more gradual slope. I suspect that most of the slope is in the north and little is in the south, but I might be wrong $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 10:06

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