Black Mesa [#1] (Brewster County)

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 1994

A second Black Mesa is about 6½ miles northeast of Lajitas in southwesternmost Brewster County (at 29°21' N, 103°43 W). The mesa, a mafic sill in Cretaceous sedimentary rocks, reaches an elevation of 4,286 feet above sea level near the center of its table-top. Mafic rocks are generally dark, hence the mesa's name. Owing to the low resistance of the sedimentary rocks and the near-horizontality of the sill, erosion has left a flat topographic high, or mesa. Black Mesa is covered sparsely with Chihuahuan Desert scrub, including scattered shrubs such as creosote bush and ocotillo, and various semisucculents such as lechuguilla, sotol, and yucca. After mining operations came into the area near the beginning of the twentieth century, Black Mesa marked the northwestern edge of the Terlingua quicksilver district (see MERCURY MINING). Both the Lone Star mine and the larger Marfa and Mariposa operation were located just south of Black Mesa.

Clifford B. Casey, Soldiers, Ranchers and Miners in the Big Bend (Washington: Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1969). W. N. McAnulty, "Geology of Cathedral Mountain Quadrangle, Brewster County, Texas," Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 66 (1955). A. Michael Powell, "Vegetation of Trans-Pecos Texas," in New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook (Socorro, New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, 1980). Kenneth B. Ragsdale, Quicksilver: Terlingua and the Chisos Mining Company (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Black Mesa [#1] (Brewster County),” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 22, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994