Flat-topped mountains, also known as a mesa or table mountains, are typically formed through a combination of erosion and tectonic activity.
The process begins with tectonic forces pushing up large flat layers of rock, such as sandstone or limestone, from below the surface. Over time, water and wind erosion gradually wear away the softer rock layers, leaving behind a flat-topped mountain with steep, often sheer-sided cliffs, called “scarps,” on the edges.
In some cases, lava flows or volcanic activity can notably also play a role in the formation of flat-topped mountains. For example, in areas with extensive volcanic activity, lava can flow onto flat surfaces and gradually build up to form a flat-topped mountain called a volcanic plateau.
The unique shape of a flat-topped mountain can also be influenced by the local climate, soil composition, and other environmental factors. For example, in some areas with a dry, arid climate, wind erosion can create distinctive patterns of ridges and valleys on the mountain’s surface, known as “hoodoos” or “fairy chimneys.”