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The great heights of some plateaus, such as the Plateau of Tibet or the Altiplano, are due to crustal shortening.
Some plateaus—for example, the Deccan plateau of central India—occur far from mountain ranges.
The differences among plateaus can be ascribed to the different geologic processes that have created them.
The surface of this sort of plateau is defined by very flat, broad valleys surrounded by eroded hills and mountains.
The rocks that make up the mountains and the basement of the valleys are often strongly deformed, but the young sediment deposited in the valleys usually lies flat.