Badlands of South Dakota

December 31, 2012

SDBadlandsIMG_0486 (1) - Copy (3)

Photographer: Linda Bruce
Summary Author: Linda Bruce; Jim Foster

Badlands are “bad” because they’re so difficult to traverse and because they’re largely inarable, but in terms of their beauty, they can be quite striking. This photo was snapped on a mid-fall day from one of the overlooks in Badlands National Park of South Dakota. Shades of gold, tan and red here are attributable to prairie grasses and the different rock formations rather than to oaks and maples — the Badlands are virtually treeless.

When the neighboring Black Hills were being uplifted millions of years ago, its sediments were shed into the adjacent basin to the east. During eons of erosion this basin became the area the Lakota people called mako sica -- the Bad Lands. Like almost all areas in the park, those seen here consist of highly eroded, exposed sedimentary strata: sandstone, siltstone, shale and paleosols. Note that the world's richest deposits of fossils from the Oligocene epoch are found in the Badlands.

Photo details: Camera Maker: Canon; Camera Model: Canon PowerShot G9; Focal Length: 7.4mm; Aperture: f/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.0008 s (1/1250); ISO equiv: 80; Software: Microsoft Windows Photo Viewer 6.1.7600.16385.