Mesa Verde (Spanish for green table), occupies just over 52,000 acres of the Colorado Plateau. The correct geological term for the area is cuesta. Cuestas are similar to mesas, but instead of being relatively flat, they gently dip in one direction. Mesa Verde is inclined slightly to the south at about a seven degree angle and has been highly dissected by wind and water erosion into a series of canyons and “mesas.” Elevations range from about 6,000 feet in the canyon bottoms near the southern park boundary to 8,572 feet at Park Point, about ten miles north.
The geological history of Mesa Verde National Park is as diverse as the cultural history of the region. The Ancestral Pueblo people recognized this diversity and used the geology of the area, such as seep springs and alcoves, to create a sustainable and advanced lifestyle. These people thrived in the Southwest, supporting and nourishing their families with the remarkable natural resources on the mesa and from nearby areas.
Last updated: December 21, 2019