The Black Mesa region offers a great diversity of plant and animal species. Because of its proximity to the Rocky Mountain Foothills, vegetation and animals associated with the Rocky Mountains are also found at Black Mesa. Because of the lack of light pollution and the deep darkness that surrounds the park, this area is a favorite destination of stargazers. Black Mesa gets its name from the thick layer of black rock which caps the mesa. This rock was formed from a lava flow which covered this region about 30 million years ago. It is believed that this lava originated in the Piney Mountains, which are seven miles to the north in Colorado. Black Mesa represents over 140 million years of geological history. The Black Mesa region contains the fossilized remains of dinosaurs from the Jurassic and Triassic Periods, which date back as far as 140 million years ago. This region was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years.