AskDefine | Define mesa

Dictionary Definition

mesa

Noun

1 flat tableland with steep edges; "the tribe was relatively safe on the mesa but they had to descend into the valley for water" [syn: table]
2 a city just east of Phoenix; originally a suburb of Phoenix

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

First attested 1759, from mesa, "table," from mensa, "table."

Pronunciation

  • AHD: [māsə]

Noun

  1. Flat area of land or plateau higher than other land, with one or more clifflike edges
    " A few more miles of hot sand and gravel and red stone brought us around a low mesa to the Little Colorado."

Translations

Filipino

Etymology

From Spanish mesa, table

Pronunciation

  • ['mɛsa]

Noun

  • mesa, plural mga mesa

Synonyms

  • la mesa: often used interchangeably with mesa

Portuguese

Noun

  1. table (item of furniture)

Spanish

Pronunciation

  • ['mɛsa]

Etymology

From mensa

Noun

  1. table
  2. flat area of land raised above other land, like the surface of a table is above the floor

Extensive Definition

A mesa (Spanish and Portuguese for "table") is an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape. It is a characteristic landform of arid environments, particularly the southwestern United States. Many examples are also found in Spain, North and South Africa, Arabia, India, Australia, and the Badlands and Colorado regions of North America. The largest mesa in the world is considered to be the Grand Mesa in western Colorado in the United States. Urraca Mesa in northern New Mexico is particularly famous for being "haunted" in local tradition.

Formation of a Mesa

Mesas form in areas where horizontally layered rocks are uplifted by tectonic activity. Variations in the ability of different types of rock to resist weathering and erosion cause the weaker types of rocks to be eroded away, leaving the more resistant types of rocks topographically higher relative to their surroundings. This process is called differential erosion. The most resistant rock types include sandstone, conglomerate, quartzite, chert, limestone, lava flows and sills. As the underlying shale erodes away, it can no longer support the overlying cliff layers, which collapse and retreat. When the caprock has caved away to the point where only a little remains, it is known as a butte.

References

mesa in Czech: Stolová hora
mesa in Danish: Mesa
mesa in German: Tafelberg (Geologie)
mesa in French: Mesa (géomorphologie)
mesa in Korean: 메사
mesa in Italian: Mesa
mesa in Hebrew: הר שולחן
mesa in Lithuanian: Stalkalnis
mesa in Dutch: Tafelberg (geomorfologie)
mesa in Japanese: メサ
mesa in Norwegian: Mesa
mesa in Polish: Stoliwo

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

alkali flat, alluvial plain, basin, bench, bottomland, bushveld, campo, champaign, champaign country, coastal plain, delta, desert, down, downs, fell, flat, flat country, flatland, flats, grass veld, grassland, heath, lande, level, llano, lowland, lowlands, lunar mare, mare, mesilla, moor, moorland, open country, pampa, pampas, peneplain, plain, plains, plateau, playa, prairie, salt flat, salt marsh, salt pan, savanna, sebkha, steppe, table, table mountain, tableland, tree veld, tundra, upland, vega, veld, weald, wide-open spaces, wold
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