/pla toh"/ or, esp. Brit., /plat"oh/, n., pl. plateaus, plateaux /-tohz", -tohz/, v., plateaued, plateauing.n.1. a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.2. a period or state of little or no growth or decline: to reach a plateau in one's career.3. Psychol. a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual's learning, marked by an inability to increase speed, reduce number of errors, etc., and indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph.4. a flat stand, as for a centerpiece, sometimes extending the full length of a table.v.i.5. to reach a state or level of little or no growth or decline, esp. to stop increasing or progressing; remain at a stable level of achievement; level off: After a period of uninterrupted growth, sales began to plateau.v.t.6. to cause to remain at a stable level, esp. to prevent from rising or progressing: Rising inflation plateaued sales income.[1785-95; < F; OF platel flat object, dim. of plat PLATE1]
* * *IExtensive area of flat upland, usually bounded by an escarpment on all sides but sometimes enclosed by mountains.Plateaus are extensive, and together with enclosed basins they cover about 45% of the Earth's land surface. The essential criteria for a plateau are low relative relief and some altitude. Low relief distinguishes plateaus from mountains, although their origin may be similar. Plateaus, being high, often create their own local climate; the topography of plateaus and their surroundings often produce arid and semiarid conditions.II(as used in expressions)High Plateausubmarine plateauOzark Plateau
* * *state, east-central Nigeria, created in 1976 out of the northern half of former Benue-Plateau state. It is bounded by the states of Kaduna and Bauchi on the north, Taraba on the east, and Nassarawa on the south and west. The Jos Plateau rises to about 5,250 feet (1,600 m) above sea level in the state's north-central part, and the Benue River valley stretches along the southwestern border. Although there are wooded valleys in the southeast, the vegetation is mostly open grassland (formerly wooded but now with only occasional hedges of cacti and scattered trees), which is used for grazing and farming. Although the state is best known for its mining production, agriculture is the major occupation of the people. Acha (a grain known as “hungry rice”) and millet are the chief cash crops; yams, sorghum, corn (maize), potatoes, cowpeas, rice, fruits, and vegetables are the staple crops. Fulani herdsmen graze their cattle on the tsetse-free plateau and supply milk to the dairy at Vom. Among the major exports of the state are hides and skins.Plateau state is the most important mining area in Nigeria and is a major exporter of tin and columbite. The tin is smelted just outside Jos, the state capital and its largest town. The metals are shipped by rail to Port Harcourt for export. Other minerals, notably tantalite, kaolin, tungsten (wolfram), zircon, and thorium compounds, are also exploited on the plateau. Lead, zinc, and silver are mined on a small scale in the eastern part of the state around Wase, Zurak, and Kigom.Known for its heterogeneity, the state has about 40 ethnic groups, including the Vergam, Ankwei, Angas, Jawara (Jarauci), Birom, Mango, Fulani, Hausa, and Eggen. The mining industry has attracted European, Igbo (Ibo), and Yoruba immigrants into the state. Jos is connected by road with Wamba, Akwanga, Keffi, and Lafia and has an airport. Lafia, Pankshin, Wamba, Shendam, and Akwanga are also sizable market and mining centres. Places of interest include a museum, with Nok terra-cotta sculptures, and a zoo, both located at Jos. There is a federal university at Jos and a college of technology at Bukuru. Major research institutes are located at Vom (veterinary sciences) and at Bukuru (strategic studies). Area 11,936 square miles (30,913 square km). Pop. (2006) 3,178,712.
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