A plain is a large area of land that have no great changes in elevation.
It is one of the major landforms, or types of land, on Earth.
Occupying slightly more than one-third of the world’s land area, plains are found on all continents except Antarctica.
They occur north of the Arctic circle, in the tropics, and in the middle latitudes.
Plains may have been formed from flowing lava, deposited by water, ice, wind, or formed by erosion by these agents from hills and mountains.
Depositional plains formed by the deposition of materials brought by various agents of transportation such as glaciers, rivers, waves, and wind. Their fertility and economic relevance depend greatly on the types of sediments that are laid down.
Erosional plains have been leveled by various agents of denudation such as running water, rivers, wind and glacier which wear out the rugged surface and smoothens them.
Structural plains are relatively undisturbed horizontal surfaces of the Earth. They are structurally depressed areas of the world that make up some of the most extensive natural lowlands on the Earth’s surface.
The major plains of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia occur in the continental interiors, but broad extensions of some of these flat lands reach the Atlantic coast.
Plains would generally be under the grassland (temperate or subtropical), steppe (semi-arid), savannah (tropical) or tundra (polar) biomes. In a few instances, deserts and rainforests can also be plains.
Plains vary widely in size. The smallest occupy only a few hectares, whereas the largest cover hundreds of thousands of square kilometres.
The largest plain in the world is the West Siberian Plain. It is a large plain that occupies the western portion of Siberia, between the Ural Mountains in the west and the Yenisei River in the east, and by the Altay Mountains on the southeast. It covers an area of about 2.6 to 2.7 million square kilometres (1 million square miles) which is about one third of Siberia.
The Great Plains, located in North America, have an area of approximately 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 square kilometers), roughly equivalent to one-seventh of the United States. Historically the Great Plains were the range of the bison and of the culture of the Plains Indians, whose tribes included the Blackfoot, Crow, Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and others.
With certain exceptions, plains have become the sites of major centres of population, industry, commerce, and transportation. Their flat surfaces are easily cultivated and usually contain the most productive soil. Moreover, such areas of low relief present few obstacles to land transportation, and the rivers running across them are generally much easier to navigate than are those of rougher terrain.
Some plains were scenes of great battles. The Kosovo field is a large karst field, a plain located in the eastern part of Kosovo. It is mostly known for being the battlefield of the Battle of Kosovo (1389) between the Serbian and Ottoman armies, and many other battles. Serbian ruler Stefan Lazarević (1389–1427) erected a marble column with inscriptions on the field, in memory of his father.