Thursday, June 1, 2023

Plateaus of Pakistan: Potohar and Balochistan Plateau

Here’s a brief account on the plateaus of Pakistan (Potohar/Pothohar and Balochistan plateau), including their location, features, minerals, mountain ranges (like Salt Range) and rivers.

Plateaus are table-shape lands that rise at least 300 meters or more above sea level.

  • They are usually bounded on one or more sides by steep slopes which drop to lower land, or by steep slopes rising to a mountain range.
  • Pakistan has two areas with these distinct features: Potohar & Baluchistan Plateau

Potohar/Pothohar Plateau


  • Potohar Plateau is situated in Northwestern side of the Punjab Province.
  • Its northern boundary is marked by Kala Chitta ranges and Margalla Hills.
  • In the south, Potohar Plateau is bounded by Salt Range.
  • On eastern and western sides, it is confined by River Jhelum and River Indus successively.
  • Potohar plateau is near the Cholistan desert


  • Pothohar plateau covers the districts of Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Mianwali and Chakwal.


  • Pothohar plateau covers about 18000 sqkm of area.
  • Ravines, Ridges, Gullies, Trough and Residual hills are the main features of the area.
  • Ravines and gullies have turned the area into a badland topography.
  • These Gullies and Rivines are called khunders.


  • Rock salt, Limestone, Gypsum, Oil, Coal and Gas are the main minerals of the Pothohar


  • River Soan, Korang, Haro, Sill, Ling and Dharab are the main rivers/ water bodies of the Potohar plateau.


  • There are many saline lakes formed due to the accumulation of seepage water from the adjacent hills lakes like Kaller Kahar, Khabeki and Uchali.


  • Khairi Murat, Kheri Mar, Bakralla Ridges, Jogi Tilla, and Salt Range are significant ranges of the Potohar plateau.

Salt Range


  • Salt range is located to the south of Potohar plateau.
  • The Indus River breaks through the Range at Kalabagh.
  • Salt Range covers most of the Jhelum, and parts of Khushab, Chakwal and Mianwali districts.


  • Its average height is about 750 – 900 meters.
  • Range extends about 300 kilo-meters in east west direction.


  • Salt Range is rich in a number of minerals e.g. Rock salt, Limestone and Gypsum.
  • It has become famous because of salt mines of Khewra, Kalabagh, Warcha.

Highest Peak

  • The highest peak of the area is Sakesar (1527 m).

Streams/ Drainage

  • Khewra, Makrachi, Jaranwala and Jamsukh are small streams found in Salt Ranges.
Potohar/Pothohar Plateau & Salt Range of Pakistan
Potohar Plateau

Balochistan Plateau


  • Balochistan plateau is located on west side of Sulaiman and Kirthar ranges.
  • Its Western boundary is marked by Iran, Northern by Afghanistan and Southern by Arabian sea.


  • Its altitude varies from 600 – 3000 m.
  • The total area of Balochistan plateau is 347,190 sq. Kms.
  • It is covered by small hill ranges, valleys, plains, water bodies and Kharan desert.


  • Balochistan plateau is rich in minerals resources such as Natural gas, Oil, Gold, Silver copper & Coal.


  • Some of Baluchistan Rivers such as River Zhob and Gomal join the Indus River from west, forming the western tributaries.
  • Some rivers such as River Hab, Porali, Hingol and Dasht directy fall into Arabian sea.
  • Rivers such as Hamun -e- Mashkel, Hamun Lora and Hamun Murgo drain into inland depressions forming the inland drainage system in Balochistan Plateau.
  • Some rivers such as River Mula, Bolan and Chakar absorb into the Kachhi Sibi Plain.

Balochistan plateau is divided into following natural topographical features:

  • Northern Basins
  • Western Basins
  • Coastal Areas
  • Mountain Ranges

Northern Basins

  • Zhob and Loralai basins are drained by Zhob and Loralai Rivers (western tributaries of Indus), they are situated between Toba Kakar and Sulaiman ranges.
  • To the south west of the Loralai basin is the Quetta valley surrounded by mountain ranges.

Western Basins

  • A Number of basins are also located between the mountain ranges of Chagai, RasKoh, Siahan and Central Makran which contain inland drainage basins of salt lakes like Hamun-e-Mashkhail, Hamun-e-Murgho, Hamun e Lora.

Coastal Areas

The coastal areas of the Balochistan Plateau can be divided into Eastern and Western parts.

  • The eastern part comprises the Lasbela Plain which is marked by gravel and sand dunes.
  • The western part is known as the Makran Coast. The Makran Coast has a narrow beach backed by rock cliffs and a coastal plaincovered with sand dunes and small hills.

The Makran coast is noted for a number of uplifted terraces, including the Clifton hills, Manora, Hawks Bay, Ormara, Gwadar and Jiwani.

Mountain Ranges

Toba Kakar Ranges

  • It is located in extreme north of Baluchistan plateau.
  • Rugged with no vegetation cover.
  • Rise above 3000 meters.
  • They have Khojak pass which link Pakistan with Afghanistan.

Kalat Plateau

  • Kalat plateau lies in south of Quetta, and is criss-crossed by Koh-i-Maran, Harboi, Brahui and Central Brahui ranges.
  • It rises to 1600 to 2000 meters.

Khuzdar Knot

  • Lies to the south of Kalat Plateau, it’s a triangular region.
  • Many active faults are present in this rea. Therefore it is subject to frequent earthquakes.
  • Khuzdar Knot rises to 1800 to 2400 meters a.s.l.

Chagai hills

  • They are located at Pak-Afghan border in Chaghi district with altitude of 2000 meters a.s.l.

Raskoh range

  • Nuclear explosions site
  • Lies to the south of Chaghi hills in Chaghi district
  • They also have altitude of 2000 meters a.s.l.

Siahan Range

  • It’s a Curved shaped range in between Central Makran and Raskoh.

Central Makran Range

  • It lies in South west region of Baluchistan in South of Siahan Range with altitude of 1000 to 1200 meters a.s.l.
  • Most of these rivers are seasonal in nature.

Makran Coastal range

  • It is Southernmostrange along the coastal plain of Baluchistan with an altitude of just 200 to 600 meters a.s.l.
  • Many small rivers from this range flow towards south to Arabian sea.
Balochistan Plateau: Plateaus of Pakistan
Balochistan Plateau


Britannica, Britannica, AIOU Geography

Read More

Mineral Resources of Pakistan: List of All Minerals & Fuel Energy Reserves

Mountain Ranges of Pakistan: List & Map of All Famous Mountains

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