The scientific tourist #192 — bad, bad lands

From the southwest corner of South Dakota comes today’s image for you — a landscape panorama from the Badlands:

Bad, bad lands

Given that this area was named by trappers travelling on horseback, it’s easy to see why they called the area “bad lands.” Walking through this landscape is an effort. Getting a horse (much less a horse-drawn wagon) across this sort of terrain must have been a nightmare.

Geologically, it’s a fantastic opportunity to see the layer cake that is the near-surface geology of the area. As erosion strips away the softer, upper layers, the badlands are the eroding transition between the upper grasslands and their lower cousins (about 200 feet below). Meanwhile, “the wall” separating the two moves slowly north and west by about an inch a year.

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