Which place is known as the roof of the world? Well, it’s basically the Tibetan plateau which is designated as the roof of the world. Let us know a bit about what is a plateau and what it looks like?
The earth is home to intriguing landforms called plateaus. The elevation of most plateaus typically ranges from a few hundred to several thousand metres. Plateaus are large landforms that often have a flat or sloping top. In general, plateaus are larger than buttes or mesas. Most plateaus are carved into steep canyons by erosion. The plateau known as the “Columbia plateau” in North America is an odd and noteworthy example of a plateau.
1. Tibetan Plateau-The Roof Of The World
Tibetan plateau, known as the roof of the world lies in Central Asia in an elevated region of about more than 4,500 meters above sea level. Entitled as the world’s highest and largest plateau, the Tibetan plateau covers an area of approximately 2,500,000 kilometres square.
The Tibetan Plateau really evokes awe in our imaginations just by its name. The impressive plateau is a work of nature as well as a magnificent sight to behold. Its construction and stature are nothing less than amazing. The breathtaking Tibetan Plateau, however, is more complex than first appears.
It is the “table land” at the summit of some exceedingly steep slopes, much like a conventional plateau. It’s important to note that this arid area is home to several glaciers that provide water for nearly all of Asia. In actuality, it is the largest freshwater reserve found outside of the Poles.
Because of this, this majestic plateau is occasionally referred to as the Third Pole. The Tibetan Plateau, which spans a region greater than Western Europe, is extremely significant both culturally and geologically. The Mekong, Ganges, and Yangtze rivers are fed by the plateau, which is home to the “biggest tropical glaciological area in the world.”
1.1. Regions Surrounding The Tibetan Plateau From All Directions
As the name suggests, the roof of the world is a part of Tibet. The south region that surrounds the plateau includes the Himalayan mountain ranges, and countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, and Myanmar. The Kunlun mountains surround the north of the plateau, which also acts as the border between the Tibetan plateau and the Tarim Basim.
Towards the northeast of the plateau, separating it from the Gobi Desert and the Hexi Corridor, lie the Qilian Mountains. Covering the eastern and south-eastern parts of the plateau are the Southeast Tibet shrub and meadows. The Tibet Autonomous Region forms the southwestern portion of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Lastly, the Karakoram-West Tibetan Plateau alpine steppe border the western sides of the Tibetan plateau.
1.2. Formation Of The ‘Roof of the World’
The story of how the Tibetan Plateau was created is actually rather interesting. Scientists have always been intrigued by how the Tibetan Plateau and its jagged peaks formed. The ‘Roof of the World‘ was formed as a result of the collision between the two tectonic plates- the Indian Plate and the Eurasian (hybrid term for Europe and Asia together) plate. After which, the land came together, uplifted, and ultimately formed the great mountain ranges. The land around the collisions did get uplifted but didn’t overlap and form such a mountainous interior, but rather a flat, large, wide, open land space, which now we call the roof of the world.
1.3. The Mountain Ranges In The Plateau
There are eight mountain ranges across and downwards the plateau including the Aerhchin, Qilian, Kunlun, Karakorum, Tanggula, Gangdisi, Nyainqentanglha, and the Himalayas.
The plateau consists of 6 peaks over 8000 meters above sea level, 50 peaks over 7000 meters above sea level, and several other peaks which are above 6000 meters above sea level.
1.4. The Natural Landforms Of The Plateau
Apart from its jaw-dropping mountains and peaks, the ‘roof of the world‘ includes numerous hills, lakes, and gorges.
The Qiangtang Grasslands being one of the main important ones is located in North Tibet. From east to west, exceeding over 2,400 kilometers, and from north to south exceeding over 700 kilometers. It averages around 4,500 meters above sea level.
Yarlung Zangbo Great Gorge and East Tibet Three Rivers Gorges are the most famous and important gorges on the plateau, lying around the south and southeast of the plateau.
1.4.3. Lakes And Rivers
The Tibetan Plateau is home to many astounding lakes and rivers as well.
It consists of over 20 rivers with larger than ten thousand square kilometers of valley area and over 100 rivers with larger than two thousand square kilometers of the valley area.
Some of its famous rivers include as follows: the Yarlung Zangbo Rivers, the Ganges rivers, the Jinsha River, the Indian River, the Mekong River, the Nujiang River, and the Lancang River.
On top of that, there are over one thousand and five hundred lakes across the plateau, out of which there are 47 lakes exceeding an area of over 100 square kilometers.
1.5. The History Of The Tibetan Plateau
The Pamir Mountains, which reach a height of around 25,095 feet, are where the term “roof of the world” was first used in historical records. The Tajik province of Gorno-Badakhshan contains the Pamir Mountains.
According to the archaeological evidence through research, the area’s history is analyzed as: the earliest times when there were any human settlements on the plateau were roughly 30,000 to 40,000 years back from today, even before 3,600 BP. Today, the majority of the population of this region are the pure, ethnic Tibetan groups, with minor populations from the groups of ethnic Han Chinese, Mongols, and other ethnic groups as well. Over 90% of these residents are engaged in the occupations of farming and herding. One of the most popular interests among the locals is mountaineering.
1.6. Why are Himalayan Mountains Known As The Roof Of The World?
Other places like the Himalayan Mountains and Mount Everest are referred to be the “top of the world” as well. The fact that the Himalayan Mountains reach a height of over 26,246 feet at 25 different sites is one of its most astounding features. The mountain range is known as the roof of the globe due to its great height. The Himalayas are a major region since they are home to more than 50 million people living in five different countries.
1.7. The ‘Roof of the World’ Today
Furthermore, a lot of adventurous tourists, locals, and westerners come to this region to experience the breathtaking beauty, sightsee numerous mountains in single frames as well as engage with the locals and understand their unique culture. After the first colonization of the Tibetan plateau (earlier than 15,000 BP), a lot of learnings and ideas from this culture were seen being implemented in other countries and regions, including the west side world.
1.7.1. Uses, Importance And Significance Of The Tibetan Plateau
Due to several reasons, the Tibetan plateau is a very important region for its surrounding places and countries. Some of the reasons include:
- The Tibetan plateau plays a very significant role in water supply in regions, especially China and India. Many important rivers of Asia including the Ganges (Ganga), Mekong, and Yangtze originate from this plateau. A lot of places and regions depend on these water sources for efficient living.
- The ‘roof of the world’ also is very important to maintaining the Asian Climate. It is believed that along with the Himalayas, The Tibetan plateau plays a major role in maintaining the heat of the regions surrounding it, and it even impacts the climate transitions and monsoons and summers significantly because of its thermal dynamics and effects. Overall, if the plateau didn’t exist, the climate in Central Asia would definitely not be the same.
- Adding on, The Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau together are known as ‘the Third Pole’ because the ice fields in this region consist of the largest reserve of fresh water on Earth, apart from the two main poles- The North Pole and The South Pole.
- The Tibetan Plateau is also being used by scientists all around the world as it helps them predict any climate changes and gives hints and early warnings about upcoming and happening global warming rise. This is mainly because the ‘roof of the world’ is the most sensitive to any climate change that happens and is marked as the best place to observe any similar related thing.
In all, the Tibetan Plateau is known as ‘the roof of the world‘ lying in Tibet, surrounding different parts of countries such as Nepal, India, China, Pakistan, and Myanmar (Burma). This plateau consists of some of the world-famous and exciting geological features such as some stunning and highest mountainous peaks, remarkable water bodies like lakes and rivers, and also the phenomenal gorges.
The existence of this plateau has improved and helped the lives of billions living in or near the region, as well as people worldwide by acting as a very important source of water, giving potential climate signals and warnings, and maintaining the climate of the surrounding areas, and many more.