Messa (left) and Butte (right). Image credit channingchurch.com

Messa (left) and Butte (right). Image credit channingchurch.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Mesa and Butte

  • Mesas and buttes are flat topped uplands with steep sides and often capped by hard resistant rocks.
  • Mesas and buttes are desert features created primarily by river erosion in deserts but carved away further by desert weathering processes as well as wind (aeolian) processes.
  • They are formed from what are originally plateaus that are cut into two by rivers.
  • These features can be quickly formed because desert rivers have a lot of erosive power owing to the lack of vegetation, the sudden and heavy storms that result in violent downpours and ferocious runoff and the abrasive material that is readily available in deserts.
  • Messas have a broader top compared to buttes.
  • They are usually dissected by wadis.
  • Weathering processes pile up scree/talus at their bases.
  • Buttes can be formed by mesas that have been carved by erosion.
Mesa and Butte. Image credit scienceclarified.com

Mesa and Butte. Image credit scienceclarified.com

To view more topics go to the Geography Notes page.

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