A Southwest Glossary: Geographical Terms—Río Grande Part 1

Rio Grande Valley
The Rio Grande Valley has been inhabited at least since the Archaic period, as shown by petroglyphs on exposed rock surfaces and the remains of stone tools quarried in the mountains. San Antonio Mountain was a significant source of dacite (an igneous, volcanic rock) for tools. In historic Continue reading

A Southwest Glossary: Geographical Terms M to T

Mesa
In Spanish, the word means “table.” A mesa is an elevated area of land with a flat top and steep slides. Mesas rise sharply above the surrounding landscape, and the top of the hill is usually capped by a rock formation. Photo:Tucumcari mesa, Tucumcari, New Mexico.  Continue reading

A Southwest Glossary: Geographical Terms A to E

Arroyo
An arroyo, Spanish for “brook,” is a steep-sided, dry creek bed that seasonally fills and flows after a sufficient rainfall. Flash floods are common in arroyos following heavy thunderstorms. The term arroyo is mainly used in the southwestern United States. Continue reading