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the name of a group of plateaus rising to an altitude of 1,200 m in the southern part of the Central Massif in France. The plateaus are formed from a thick series of thinly laminated limestone, which has been broken up into gentle folds. Karst formations (caves and small hollows) are widespread. The plateaus drop off steeply and are broken by deep (500–700 m) narrow river valleys. There are many underground springs. There is sparse, predominantly xerophytic, herbaceous and shrub vegetation. There are also occasional stands of oak, beech, and pine.