In South Dakota, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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In order to count this Earthcache as a find, you must complete the following tasks and email the answers to me.
1. What is the elevation?
2. Estimate the height of the largest butte in front of you.
3. Using the colors and sediments listed below, describe, from top to bottom, the layers of sediment that make up the largest butte.
4. Describe the effect erosion has had on the badlands.
Located in Wall, this Earthcache will provide you with an overlook of the badlands. There is a giant dinosaur and a bike path located nearby. Wall is also home to the famous Wall Drug. Enjoy the view!
The Lakota first named this land “mako sica” meaning “land bad.” For nearly 11,000 years, Native Americans treated the Badlands as their hunting grounds. Archaeologists have found rocks, charcoal, tools, and arrowheads belonging to the Natives who camped in the area during hunting season. One of the last known Ghost Dances of the Native Americans also took place in the badlands region in 1890 after the Natives were forced onto reservations by the government.
The Badlands region also preserves the world’s greatest fossil beds of animals from the Age of Mammals. Skeletons of ancient sea creatures, camels, three-toed horses, saber-toothed cats,giant rhinoceros-like creatures, and flying reptiles have been discovered in the area. Prehistoric bones are continually being unearthed by scientists and park rangers.
The formation of the Badlands began 69 million years ago as sediments were deposited at the bottom of an ancient sea that stretched across the present-day Great Plains region. Geologists have concluded that much of central passage of North America was under water during the age of the dinosaurs. During the Mesozoic Era, the world was warm and the oceans were at a high level. The entire central part of North America was a great, shallow, inland sea known as the Western Interior Seaway. This seaway was created as two tectonic plates collided, causing the Rocky Mountains to form and creating a depression in the middle of the North American continent. This large depression and the high sea levels at the time allowed waters from the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to flood the central lowlands, creating a sea that grew and receded during the Cretaceous Era.
Shale, sand, and gravel are among the sediments deposited in the sea where the Badlands currently stand. Iron oxides left behind were created by the precipitation of iron from the sea water. Volcanic ash also adds to the mix and is the result of volcanic activity that took place west of Wall.
Another shift in tectonic plates caused ancient sea to retreat and the land under the sea to rise. When the ancient sea retreated, it left behind buttes, pinnacles (high, pointed pieces of rock), and spires. However, these land features that were left behind looked nothing like they do today. The landscape was covered with a subtropical forest because of a warm, precipitous, and humid climate. identified the region. This forest that flourished for millions of years until the climate cooled and dried. This climate change changed the landscape into what it is today. The forest died off and became the grasslands that speck the landscape today. When this happened, the landscape became more exposed to the elements. The rock formations of the region have been savagely eroded by wind and water that has eaten away at the sediments and created deep gorges between the massive buttes, pinnacles, and spires. This erosion has also revealed the colorful sedimentary layers of rock that make up the landscape: purple and yellow (shale), tan and gray (sand and gravel), red and orange (iron oxides), and white (volcanic ash). This erosion began half a million years ago and continues to carve the buttes today. Eventually, the Badlands will completely erode away.
NOT A LOGGING REQUIREMENT: Feel free to post pictures of your group at the area or the area itself - I love looking at the pictures.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 4/1/2017 4:30:45 PM Pacific Daylight Time (11:30 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum