New Terms: Learn ’em, Use ’em, Embrace ’em

Here, a recent e-mail from Mama, regarding the state she’ll be moving too:

Sorry about yesterday. There are steep rock formations all over Nebraska that make it difficult to receive cell transmissions.

Here are some definitions I learned on this trip.

butte: A hill that rises abruptly from the surrounding area and has sloping sides and a flat top.

mesa: A broad, flat-topped elevation with one or more clifflike sides, common in the southwest United States.

escarpment: A steep slope or long cliff that results from erosion or faulting and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations

One of the faculty members used this term when he drove me to high ground and showed me where billtions of years ago, shifting plates had basically shaved all the topological features off the land, which left it unprotected and vulnerable to erosion. He was generally referring to the separation of what they call the “front range” [mountains in CO] and the pine ridge area of NE, which is where the school is. They are dramatically different in elevation.

Logophile that I am, I’ll try to drop these mothers into daily conversation. For example:

“It’s a surprise to see that butte after driving through mostly-flat land.”

“Formidable mesas litter the New Mexican landscape.”

“One can find an impressive escarpment, broken by a fault, in Tennessee.”



One Response to “New Terms: Learn ’em, Use ’em, Embrace ’em”

  1. swedishfish Says:

    Nebraska? Ick! I live in Colorado and it’s not too great around most of the state until you’re near the mountains. But Nebraska? Awful, awful state..

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