A tableland is a broad, relatively flat, and steep-sided plateau that rises high and abruptly above the surrounding region. One of the basic topographical landforms, tablelands are essentially youthful plains, and are most commonly found on the American continents. Tablelands can be localized—a relatively small, isolated, cliff-edged version is called a mesa—but the term is most often applied to an extensive region, such as the area Willa Cather describes in her novel One of Ours: “The tableland, from horizon to horizon, was brilliant for the mass of purple vapours rolling in the west, with bright edges, like new-cut lead.” Two prominent North American tablelands are the Colorado Plateau and the Llano Estacado of the southern Great Plains. Place-names derived from this landform include Tableland, California; Tableland Reservoir in Oregon; and Table Mountain in Butte County, California.

Emily Hiestand