White River Visitor Center, Badlands National Park
A picture of the beautiful peaks of what they call The Wall. These are what span across the South Dakota plain where the Badlands National Park is located.
This picture shows the ridges in the mountain sides. These were made by sediment that was laid down and then taken away by the wind or water passing through the rocks.
White River Visitors Center
Backstory and Context
The park is not only just rocks, like previously stated, but it is also part of the prairie. There are many mixed prairie grasses that are within the park's boundaries. This makes for a lot of wildlife that thrives in the area. Prairie dogs, bison, black-footed ferrets bighorn sheep,bald eagles, and prairie dogs all thrive in its boundaries.2 But not only do the Badlands house living animals, but also the dead. It has one of the world's richest fossil beds in the world for ancient mammals.2 Ancient mammals, such as the saber-toothed tiger, horses, and rhinos, lived there because full fossils have been found.1 Turtle shells and other characteristics of water have been found, making scientists think this area was once underwater.3
The Bandland's Wall has not always looked the way it does today. The erosion that has occurred to the rocks came from water and wind that had been passing through the rocks for thousands of years. It has been recorded that the rocks erode an average of one inch, or sometimes even more in certain places, every year.1 As the rock erodes, more fossils show up, because of how much is taken away.
The Badlands have a rich history behind them that the Oglala Lakota Nation has been keeping alive as long as they have owned part of the land. This is one of the most sacred places that the Lakota have, because the last Ghost Dance occurred there in 1890. This happened before the Battle of Wounded Knee, where 150 Lakota were massacred.1