Rock formations, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
© DEEPOL by plainpictur
Badlands National Park, USA
Forty-four years ago, a rugged, inhospitable area of South Dakota was designated a national park to protect the many fossils found on the land. The area had a 11,000-year previous history as hunting grounds for Native Americans. In fact, the name we know it by today, Badlands, comes from the Lakota phrase “mako sica”, which literally translates to “bad lands”. Covering 982 square kilometres, its harshly eroded rock formations make it one of the most distinct landscapes in the United States.
And it's still forming! The National Park Service says the Badlands erode about 2.5 centimetres every year, which is fast for erosion. Scientists estimate that within the next half million years, the Badlands will have eroded away completely. You might want to start planning your visit soon.