Utah's Little Grand Canyon
Photograph by James P. Blair
The thread of San Rafael River at the bottom of Utah's Little Grand Canyon may seem small now, but its once mighty flow is what sculpted this magnificent gorge. This view of the canyon's plateaus in fading light is from the Wedge Overlook.
Photograph by Randy Olson
A wooden boardwalk and fog over a lake create a contemplative scene in Russia's Putorana Plateau. This basaltic plateau located in Siberia contains flat-topped mountains divided by canyons some 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) deep.
Photograph by Travel Ink
Mount Roraima, a tepui, or sandstone mesa, rises from the clouds in southeastern Venezuela. These rare 4,000-foot (1,200-meter) plateaus have lured adventurers to Venezuela's canyonlands for decades, and are believed to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his 1912 novel, The Lost World.
Monument Valley, Arizona
Photograph by Norbert Rosing
Night descends on the buttes and mesas of Arizona's Monument Valley. The vast Colorado Plateau showcases the effects of weathering and erosion; it includes mountains and canyons, among other geologic wonders, but only one large river: the Colorado.
Colorado's Roan Plateau
Photograph by Joel Sartore
A view from the sky shows the verdant undulations of central Colorado's Roan Plateau. The 3,500-foot (1,065-meter) cliffs in the foreground lead up to these rolling highlands, where oil and gas deposits are attracting the attentions of environmentalists and developers alike.
Dirty Devil River, Utah
Photograph by Paul Chesley
The Dirty Devil River snakes its way toward Lake Powell through the chiseled features of Utah's Colorado Plateau. The snowcapped Henry Mountains can be seen in the background.
Colorado Plateau, Utah
Photograph by John Eastcott and Yva Momatiuk
Simpson Desert, Australia
Photograph by Medford Taylor
A sunlit butte gives color and contour to an expanse of Australia's Simpson Desert. This forbiddingly arid region covers 56,000 square miles (145,000 square kilometers) of central Australia and boasts some of the largest sand dunes in the world.
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National Geographic Magazine
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