Badlands National Park in South Dakota doesn’t live up to its name at all. I’m sure it’s ‘bad’ in the sense of “I wouldn’t want to live here”, but not so much in a “I wouldn’t want to drive through and take some pictures, especially at sunset when the scenery is just breathtaking” sort of way. 

Scientists believe that the badlands began to form during the late Cretaceous Period, 67 to 75 million years ago, through the geological process called deposition.  It continued for the next 30 million years or so, with different woodland rivers, seas, and tropical lands depositing (deposition-depositing, get it?) various amounts of sediments over these vast periods of time. 

The process of erosion (where sediment begins to be removed) began around 500,000 years ago, when the Cheyenne River began to take in the smaller surrounding rivers as they receded.  According to my previous paragraph, these river had previously been depositing the sediment.  Erosion now dominated the landscape, and the Badlands started to take the shape we know now.

Sadly, the Earth doesn’t know when to stop. It is predicted that the badlands and all its natural wonder and beauty will erode into nothingness within another 500,000 years.  My advice: we’re lucky enough to live in the million year period where this exists.  Go see it while you can.

Sometimes, we need to learn on this blog.  I hope my vast knowledge of ripping off information from other sites/sources* helped us all grow a little as individuals, and as science-loving rock people.

*In school, this process is known as Essay Writing.