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Black Mesa (Oklahoma)

Mountain information
NameBlack Mesa
Elevation5700 ft (1737.4 m)
ListingUS State High Point of Oklahoma (at 4,973 feet/1,516 m)
LocationColorado / New Mexico / Oklahoma, USA
Easiest routeHike

     Home | Mountain | Black Mesa (Oklahoma)

Black Mesa is a mesa that extends from Mesa de Maya in Colorado southeasterly 28 mi (45.1 km) along the north bank of the Cimarron River, crossing the northeast corner of New Mexico to end at the confluence of the Cimarron and Carrizo Creek near Kenton in the Oklahoma panhandle. Its highest elevation is 5712 ft (1741 m) in Colorado (37° 4'52.90"N, 103°20'41.08"W). The highest point of Black Mesa within New Mexico is 5266 ft (1605.1 m) (36°59'55.61"N, 103° 9'51.70"W). In northwestern Cimarron County, Oklahoma, Black Mesa reaches 4973 ft (1515.8 m), the highest point in Oklahoma.

Black Mesa is found on six adjacent United States Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 Minute (1:24,000) topographic maps (Dennis Canyon, Furnish Canyon West, Furnish Canyon East, Wedding Cake Butte, Goodson School, and Kenton).

The visual and map view appearance of Black Mesa is as an "inverted valley" because erosion has removed the relatively soft sedimentary strata from either side of the resistant Raton basalt of the lava which originally had occupied and filled a river valley. The erupting lava filled a stream channel in the Pliocene age Ogallala Formation. During the millions of years since the eruption, the adjacent rock of the Ogallala and older formations have been removed leaving the valley filling basalt perched atop a long ridge. Strata exposed along the mesa below the basalt and Ogallala include the Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone and the Jurassic Morrison Formation.

Abundant dinosaur fossils have been recovered from the Triassic and Jurassic strata in the area and a dinosaur trackway is located in Carrizo Creek to the north of the mesa.

It is home to Black Mesa Nature Preserve.

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