National Geographic : 1896 Sep
TOPOGRAPHIC TERMS OF SPANISH AMERICA Kendall, who wrote the "Narrative of the Texan Santa F6 Expedition," * refers to it in describing the breaks or escarpment near Red river as fol lows: " The Mexicans who started with Albert Pike in his journey across the prairie spoke of this steppe and gave the name of Las Cejas, or the Eyebrows, to the singular range. [t] Mr P. appears to have passed to the south of the steppe." The word ceja literally means a fringe, selvage, or border, and in to pography is used for the escarpment cliff of a mesa. I was agreeably surprised to find this word used in its literal sense as the escarpment or mesa in three widely separated localities on the United States Land Office maps of New Mexico-the Ceja de los Comancheros, the Cejas de Galisteo, the Cejitas Blanca. If there is any feature more conspicuous than others in the arid region of New Mexico it is these cejas, extending for miles and miles across the country as far as the eye can see. Cejita is the diminutive of ceja and is a very appropriate word for lines of low escarpments which are frequently met with. These are usually a secondary accompaniment of the larger cejas. For instance, where a mesa has a compound escarpment the uppermost cliff constitutes the pre dominating ceja, while its lower slopes reveal smaller benches in terrace like arrangement, the faces of which may appropriately be called cejitas. Puerto.- In the account of the Texan Santa F6 expedition is found a description of how the party wandered for miles along the mesa edges trying to find a place where they could descend the cejas of the northern edge of the Llano Estacado. Such a place, made by the flattening of the gradient of the caletas forming the headwater drainage, was called a puerto, which may be defined as a drainage notch through a ceja or sierra. Bajada. -The term bajada literally means a gradual descent. I find it used upon the maps of New Mexico and applied to a gradually descend ing slope as distinguished from a more vertical escarpment. Example, the Bajada de los Comancheros. I take the liberty of proposing to limit the use of this term to extensive slopes of degradational and aggradational origin.T Bajadas of the latter kind are composed of talus and often con stitute extensive features, such as that shown west of the Rio Grande on the Santa Clara, New Mexico, sheet of the United States Geological Survey. This definition is made in order to distinguish between a bajada and a cuesta, the latter being a tilted structural plain. Escabrodura. - Literally the place where a chicken has scratched. In Featherstone's account of the Santa Fe Expedition he describes how the party became lost and entangled in the escabroduras lying eastward of the ceja of the Llano Estacado. These were nothing more than the in deeply eroded regions we know as Bad Lands. The bases of nearly all the cejas grade into extensive regions of escabroduras. Balcones (balcony).- This name has been specifically applied and is * Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, by George Wilkins Kendall. Vol. i, page 250. London, 1844. t It will be well to remember that inall the old explorations the great escarpments of the mesas are called mountains or ranges. t There should be a term for each of these kinds of slope. ?Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 1843.