A butte is an isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; buttes are smaller than mesas, plateaus, and table landforms. In some regions, such as the Midwestern United States and Northwestern United States, the word is used for any hill. The word butte comes from a French word meaning "small hill"; its use is prevalent in the Western United States, including the southwest, where "mesa" is also used for the larger landform. Because of their distinctive shapes, buttes are frequently landmarks in plains and mountainous areas.
In differentiating mesas and buttes, geographers use the rule of thumb that a mesa has a top that is wider than its height, while a butte has a top that is narrower than its height.
The Mitten Buttes of Monument Valley in Arizona are two of the most distinctive and widely-recognized buttes. Monument Valley and the Mittens provided backgrounds in scenes from many western-themed films, including seven movies directed by John Ford. The Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock rather than sandstone, limestone or other sedimentary rocks.
Three other notable formations that are either named ''butte'' or may be considered buttes even though they do not conform to the formal geographer's rule are Scotts Bluff (actually a collection of five bluffs) in Nebraska, Crested Butte (a high mountain) in Colorado, and Elephant Butte (now an island in Elephant Butte Reservoir) in New Mexico.
Among the well-known non-flat-topped buttes in the United States are Bear Butte, South Dakota, and Black Butte, Oregon. In many cases, buttes have been given other names that do not use the word ''butte'', for example, Courthouse Rock, Nebraska. Also, some large hills that are technically not buttes have names using the word ''butte'', examples of which are Kamiak Butte and Chelan Butte in Washington State.
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』