Encyclopedia Article


A relative measure of height that is applied to topography. The measuring starts with zero being sea-level. High altitude is usually defined as beginning around 8,000 feet above sea level.

The Four Corners region, within which most of Tony Hillerman's Navajo detective stories take place, is considered to be within the range of high altitude, with many mountains and peaks rising well above 8,000 feet. At high altitude, the atmosphere is thinner than at sea level, with resultant changes in ecosystem dispersal, weather patterns (dependent upon local and regional topography), and oxygen levels in the air.

Photo Credit: 

"A view of Mount Taylor to the north from the west end of the Sky City of Acoma Pueblo, November 17, 2012" by Beyond My Ken is licensed under CC BY-SA.