The stunning landscape you see in the Badlands was an unassuming floodplain just 500,000 years ago (not much time in terms of geologic change). Since then, water and wind have carved the soft sedimentary deposits into the jagged uninviting maze pictured below. Deep valleys expose a sequence of deposits that shine a light on the environmental history of the area. The sedimentary deposits exposed within the park range from 26 to 75 million years ago, giving geologists and paleontologists relatively easy access to studying the processes at work and the biological diversity in the region during the late Cretaceous, the Late Eocene, and the Oligocene Epoch. Not sheltered from erosion, the formations are threatened by time, expected to wear away entirely given another 500,000 years. Don’t miss out!

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