[Tagging] Tag for a plateau or tableland?

Michael Patrick geodesy99 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 17 14:36:06 UTC 2019

> I'm surprised that I can't find an established tag or wiki page for a
plateau, mesa, or tableland; an area of raised land that is flat on top:
... Is natural=plateau the best option? This sounds fine to me, as an
American English speaker, but I'd like to know if it's the best British
English option.

I don't think it's a question of ' British English'. In the early days of
geology as a science, many of the founding naturalists did assign
geomorphic feature names, of course first to those dominating their region.

If your context is to have some sort of globally consistent lexicon, the
three terms are distinct from one another, with some overlap between butte
and mesa.
and https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/3-540-31060-6_289
( from 'Geomorphology', 1968 ).

The local context is different, especially for names. i.e. the 'Turtle
Mountains' in North Dakota would barely be 'knolls' elsewhere in Alaska.:
" In most American states, the Turtle Mountains—which rise 600 to 800 feet
(180 to 240 meters) above the surrounding plain—would be called hills. But
in North Dakota, one of the flattest
<http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1931-0846.2014.12001.x> states, people have a
habit of calling even relatively modest rises mountains. (In the past, the
U.S. Board of Geographic Names argued that mountains should have at least
1,000 feet (300 meters) of local relief to earn the designation, but the
group abandoned the argument for linguistic consistency in the 1970s.)"
Sometime the local label (name ) is strongly contradictory, the exact
opposite of the local landform - especially in the American Southwest as
homesick miners had a certain dark humour when they names places.

Since the petro-geologists have, by now, did at least a first pass on most
of the Earth's surface, it is fairly easy to use Google Scholar to discover
the actual geomorphic classification terms used for classifying land forms
in a particular area. There are also geologic maps sometimes available:

Michael Patrick
Data Ferret

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