Mesas characteristically consist of flat-lying soft sedimentary rocks capped by a more resistant layer or layers of harder rock, e.g. shales overlain by sandstones. The resistant layer acts as a caprock that forms the flat summit of a mesa. The caprock can consist of either sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and limestone; dissected lava flows; or a deeply deteriorated duricrust.
As kept in mind by Bryan in 1922, mesas "... stand noticeably above the surrounding nation, as a table stands above the flooring upon which it rests". It is from this look the term mesa was adopted from the Spanish word mesa suggesting "table".
A mesa resembles, however has a more substantial top location than, a butte. However, there is no agreed size limitation that separates mesas from either buttes or plateaus. The flat-topped mountains, which are understood as mesas, in the Cockburn Range of North Western Australia have locations as much as 350 kilometres (220 mi). On the other hand, flat topped hills, which are as little as 0.1 kilometres (0.062 mi) in location, in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, Germany, are referred to as mesas.
Less strictly, a really broad, flat-topped, usually isolated hill or mountain of moderate height bounded on a minimum of one side by a steep cliff or slope and representing a disintegration remnant also have been called mesas.
In the English language geomorphic and geologic literature, other terms for mesa have likewise been used.
Mesas type by weathering and erosion of horizontally layered rocks that have actually been uplifted by tectonic activity. Variations in the capability of different types of rock to resist weathering and disintegration trigger the weaker types of rocks to be deteriorated away, leaving the more resistant types of rocks topographically greater than their environments. This procedure is called differential disintegration. The most resistant rock types include sandstone, corporation, quartzite, basalt, chert, limestone, lava flows and sills. Lava flows and sills, in particular, are extremely resistant to weathering and erosion, and often form the flat top, or caprock, of a mesa. The less resistant rock layers are generally comprised of shale, a softer rock that weather conditions and deteriorates more easily.
The distinctions in strength of various rock layers are what give mesas their unique shape. Less resistant rocks are eroded away on the surface area into valleys, where they collect water drainage from the surrounding area, while the more resistant layers are left standing apart. A large location of very resistant rock, such as a sill, might protect the layers below it from disintegration while the softer rock surrounding it is deteriorated into valleys, hence forming a caprock.
Distinctions in rock type likewise show on the sides of a mesa, as instead of smooth slopes, the sides are broken into a staircase pattern called "cliff-and-bench topography". The more resistant layers form the cliffs, or stair steps, while the less resistant layers form gentle slopes, or benches, in between the cliffs.
Basal sapping takes place as water streaming around the rock layers of the mesa deteriorates the hidden soft shale layers, either as surface area runoff from the mesa top or from groundwater moving through permeable overlying layers, which leads to plunging and flowage of the shale. As the underlying shale wears down away, it can no longer support the overlying cliff layers, which collapse and retreat. When the caprock has caved away to the point where just little remains, it is referred to as a butte.
A transitional zone on Mars, understood as stressed surface, lies between highly cratered highlands and less cratered lowlands. The younger lowland shows steep walled mesas and knobs. The mesa and knobs are separated by flat lying lowlands. They are believed to form from ice-facilitated mass wasting processes from ground or climatic sources. The mesas and knobs decrease in size with increasing distance from the highland escarpment. The relief of the mesas range from nearly 2 km (1.2 mi) to 100 m (330 feet) depending upon the distance they are from the cliff.
The resistant layer acts as a caprock that forms the flat summit of a mesa. Lava flows and sills, in specific, are really resistant to weathering and erosion, and frequently form the flat top, or caprock, of a mesa. The distinctions in strength of various rock layers are what provide mesas their distinctive shape. Distinctions in rock type likewise reflect on the sides of a mesa, as rather of smooth slopes, the sides are broken into a staircase pattern called "cliff-and-bench topography". Basal sapping happens as water streaming around the rock layers of the mesa wears down the underlying soft shale layers, either as surface area overflow from the mesa top or from groundwater moving through permeable overlying layers, which leads to slumping and flowage of the shale.Source
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