One of the beautiful parts of the landscape in Utah and Arizona is the way erosion shapes the land. Looking at the buttes and mesas, we can see that the entire area was once covered with quite a bit of rock. Most of it has eroded away, leaving the eroding buttes and mesas to tell the story. Is this a butte or a mesa?


Both buttes and mesas have flat tops. They are classified by comparing height to width. If it is taller than it is wide, it is a butte. If it is wider than it is tall, it is a mesa. This is a mesa, because it is much wider than it is tall.