Butte

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Butte near Sedona, Arizona
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Butte near Sedona, Arizona

In the United States and Canada, a butte, related to a mesa, is an isolated hill with steep sides and a small flat top. Buttes are prevalent in the western states of the U.S. and on the islands of Hawaii, especially around Honolulu. Buttes are, however, not numerous around Europe.

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.

The word "butte" comes from a French word meaning "small hill".


Butte is the name of some places in the United States. See Butte, Montana, Butte, Alaska, and Butte, Nebraska for more. There are also counties named Butte County.

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