AskDefine | Define cuesta

User Contributed Dictionary



From 'costa'.


  1. slope (acclivity or declivity).


Verb form


Extensive Definition

In structural geology, and Geomorphology, cuesta (from Spanish: "slope") is a loanword, used to describe ridges formed by gently tilted sedimentary rock strata in a homoclinal structure. Cuestas have a steep slope, where the rock layers are exposed on their edges, called an escarpment or, if more steep, a cliff. Usually an erosion-resistant rock layer also has a more gentle slope on the other side of the ridge called a 'dip slope'.
Two well-known cuestas in western New York and southern Ontario are the Niagara escarpment and the Onondaga escarpment, where the dip is about 40 feet per mile to the south. The escarpment edge faces north and, in its most populated section, runs roughly parallel to the southern Lake Ontario shoreline.
Most Coastal Plains around the world are punctuated by a series of cuestas that parallel the coast. The cuestas have gentle slopes over resistant strata at the surface and steeper slopes where these resistant strata are cut. That means that steeper slopes face inside anticlinals and outside eroded sinclinals. The Reynosa Plateau is the most coast-ward cuesta, which sees surface expression with the Bordes-Oakville escarpment, on the northwest side and a low ridge on the eastern boundary, called the Reynosa cuesta, where the deposits dip below later Pliocene-Pleistocene deposits of the Willis and Lissie Formation.
Cuestas have less dramatic expression in the United Kingdom, with two notable examples being the northwest-facing escarpment of the Jurassic chalk White Horse Hills and the similarly-aligned escarpment of the Cotswolds. In continental Europe, the Swabian Alb offers particularly good views of cuestas in Jurassic rock. In France, the term for a cuesta is the same as for a coastline: "côte". Notable French cuestas are the wine-growing regions of Côte d'Or and Côtes du Rhône.


cuesta in Czech: Kuesta
cuesta in German: Schichtstufe
cuesta in Spanish: Cuesta
cuesta in French: Cuesta
cuesta in Korean: 케스타
cuesta in Italian: Cuesta
cuesta in Dutch: Cuesta
cuesta in Japanese: ケスタ
cuesta in Polish: Kuesta
cuesta in Portuguese: Cuesta
cuesta in Ukrainian: Куеста (фізична географія)
cuesta in Chinese: 單面山
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