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In structural geology and geomorphology, a cuesta (from Spanish: "slope") is a ridge 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'. The steeper slopes face inside anticlinals and outside eroded sinclinals

Examples of cuestas

Two well-known cuestas in western New Yorkmarker and southern Ontariomarker are the Onondaga escarpment and the Niagara escarpment, respectively. The dip of the Onondaga is about 40 feet per mile (about 7.6 m/km) to the south. The escarpment edge faces north and, in its most populated section, runs roughly parallel to the southern Lake Ontariomarker shoreline.

The Gulf Coastal Plain in Texasmarker is punctuated by a series of cuestas that parallel the coast, as are most coastal plains. 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 Cotswoldsmarker, sometimes called the Cotswold Edge.

In continental Europe, the Swabian Albmarker offers particularly good views of cuestas in Jurassic rock. In Francemarker, the term for a cuesta is the same as for a coastline: "côte". Notable French cuestas are the wine-growing regions of Côte d'Ormarker and Côtes du Rhône.

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