BURRO MESA. Burro Mesa is a gently westward-sloping mesa standing high above the surrounding desert floor to the northwest of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, southern Brewster County (at 29°15' N, 103°25' W). At its highest point the mesa reaches an elevation of 4,431 feet above sea level. Its name derives from the many wild burros that once wandered and grazed there. Burro Mesa is the westward down-thrown fault block of the Burro Mesa fault, which runs along the eastern escarpment of the mesa and extends southward into the Burro Mesa fault group, forming one of the major fault zones in this area of the park. The mesa is composed primarily of interbedded tuffs, ash flows, and lavas. These latter two are generally quite resistant, whereas the tuffs are easily eroded. Such a combination often leads to mesa development as erosion proceeds. The hard, igneous rocks crowning Burro Mesa have weathered so much more slowly than the softer rocks on the opposing side of the fault that they have developed over time into a topographic high. The Burro Mesa rhyolite, the prominent member of the south rim formation, caps the upper elevation of the mesa and derives its name from that feature. Vegetation on Burro Mesa is dominated by Chihuahuan Desert scrub, including various shrubs and such semisucculents as lechuguilla, ocotillo, and creosote bush, as well as cacti. The candelilla wax plant may also be found scattered over the slopes.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, "Burro Mesa," accessed May 05, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rjb85.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles