What a Sunset

Trip Start Dec 05, 2012
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Trip End Dec 31, 2015


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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Friday, September 20, 2013

Another great landscape is about 3 hours east of our last stop, is the Badlands National Park which consists of 242,756 acres (98,240 ha). As you can see from the pictures the sunsets were great! We were able to see some wild Big Horn Ram just sitting on a hill.

Natural history of the Badlands

During the youth of the Rocky Mountains, about 60 million years ago, large number of streams carried eroded soil, rock and other materials eastward from the range. These materials were deposited on the vast lowlands which are today called the Great Plains. Dense vegetation grew in these lowlands, then fell into swamps, and was later buried by new layers of sediments. Millions of years later, this plant material turned into lignite coal. Some of the plant life became petrified, and we can find large amounts of exposed petrified wood in the badlands. While sediments continued to be deposited, more streams cut down through the soft rock layers, carving the variety of mesas, buttes, rock formations, pinnacles, spires and valleys are the features of the badlands seen today.

Paleontology

The fossils found in the park date from The Age of Mammals, including ancestors of the modern day rhinoceros, horse, dog, and others. Fossilized sea shells and turtle shells have also been found in the park. There are no dinosaur fossils in the park. Approximately 30 million years ago the area was warmer and lush. Many mammals roamed the area and died in floods and quickly buried in sediment, providing an abundance of vertebrate fossils.
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