A mesa is a tall landform with a wide, flat top and steep sides. Mesa landforms are found throughout the American Southwest and in other arid regions of the world. The Spanish word "mesa" means table, as Spanish explorers thought these geological landforms looked like tabletops.Know More
Mesas are made of layers of compressed sedimentary rock capped with a harder layer of rock that is resistant to erosion. This top layer is often a layer of cooled and hardened lava. The sedimentary layers below are softer and, over time, wear away with erosion.
Environmental forces shape these landforms and their surrounding areas. Mesas are generally found in areas that receive 20 inches of rain or less per year. When these arid and semiarid regions do get rain, they are pounded by sudden, heavy downpours. The water tends to evaporate quickly in these dry areas, limiting vegetation at the mesa's base. Exposed to the strong forces of wind and rain, the sides erode away relatively quickly in geologic time, resulting in a sloping base to the landform.
Mesas are related to both plateaus and buttes. Size differentiates them. In general, mesas have a surface area between 11, 251 square feet and 4 square miles. They are smaller in area than plateaus and larger in area than buttes, which have a surface area of less than 11,250 square feet.Learn more about Landforms
One example of the mountains and basins landforms found in the United States is located in central Idaho. The landscape of the region is formed by a combination of broad basins, uplands and breaklands. The elevation found in the central Idaho mountains and basins ranges between 1,600 and 8,200 feet.Full Answer >
Interesting facts about the Grand Canyon are that its oldest rocks date back two billion years, it represents one-third of Earth's history and it's not the biggest canyon in the world. The Grand Canyon ranges in age from 250 million years old at the highest rocks to two billion years old at the lowest rocks.Full Answer >
Volcanic mountains form as lava oozes forth from cracks in the earth. The lava builds up around the area where the eruption occurred. Layers build upon layers and over a period of time, a volcanic mountain forms.Full Answer >
The Himalayas run through the countries of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, China and Nepal. The Himalayan mountain range consists of three parallel ranges referred to as the Outer Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas and the Greater Himalayas. The ranges cover approximately 1,500 miles altogether.Full Answer >