Encyclopedia Article


A flat-topped hill or plateau of rock with one or more steep sides, usually rising abruptly from a surrounding plain. Commonly found in arid environments, mesas are formed by the erosion of horizontally layered rocks that have been pushed above the surface of the earth by tectonic activity.

Photo Credit: 

"Enchanted Mesa, New Mexico, July 1984," photograph, Lee Marmon Pictorial Collection (PICT 2000-017). Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

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