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Formed by Erosion

February 7, 2010
clipped from www.flickr.com

clipped from www.flickr.com

A butte (IPA: [bju:t]) is an isolated hill with steep sides and a small flat top, smaller than mesas and plateaus. Buttes are prevalent in the western United States and on the Hawaiian Islands, especially around Honolulu. The word “butte” comes from a French word meaning “small hill.”

Buttes are formed by erosion when a cap of hard rock, usually of volcanic origin, covers a layer of softer rock that is easily worn away. This hard rock avoids erosion while the rock around it wears down. One example of a noted butte is Chimney Rock.
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