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 >
The Pacific Ranges consist of parts of the Rocky Mountains, the Olympic Range, the Cascade Range and the Coast Range. The highest peak in the Pacific Ranges is Mount Rainier located in the Pacific Northwest at 14,410 feet tall.Full Answer >
The consensus among scientists is that the Appalachian Mountains are the oldest mountains in the world. However, there is not absolute certainty.Full Answer >
Peninsulas are found all around the world; in the United States, two prominent examples are the Upper Peninsula in Michigan and the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland. Peninsulas are chunks of land that are surrounded on three sides by water and joined to larger bodies of land by a neck, called an isthmus. Peninsulas occur primarily along ocean coastlines, although they appear along large river borders too.Full Answer >