sidebar menu icon


BLACK MESA [#2] (Brewster County). Black Mesa, in southern Brewster County, is southwest of the Chisos Mountains and about 5½ miles north-northeast of Castolon within Big Bend National Park (at 29°13' N, 103°29' W). This mesa, which rises 2,775 feet above sea level, is composed of massive, hard, dense basaltic lava of the Chisos Formation surrounded by softer Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. It derives its name from its dark color. Mammalian tooth and bone fragments that date from the Eocene have been found in tuff deposits on the southeast corner of the mesa. The local vegetation, which includes scattered shrubs such as creosote bush and ocotillo and various semisucculents such as lechuguilla, sotol, and yucca, is characteristic of Chihuahuan Desert scrub.

Ross A. Maxwell et al., Geology of Big Bend National Park (Austin: Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas, 1967). A. Michael Powell, "Vegetation of Trans-Pecos Texas," in New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook (Socorro, New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, 1980).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "Black Mesa [#2] (Brewster County)," accessed November 24, 2017,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.