The Badlands

The scene which greeted up, upon entering The Badlands. Most of the foreground is in gray shadow, though sunshine peers through breaks in the clouds, off in the distance. 
Gray clay under a blue sky. The land seems colorless under the flat, cloud induced light.
A better view of these impressive structures, from the edge of the wall. The Wall is what the erosional formations at the edge of the park are collectively known as. This structure separates the upper prairie from the lower prairie. It is slowly moving outward, and originated at the White River, which is now many miles from where the wall presently stands, at the edge of the park. Several hundred feet in elevation separate the upper and lower prairie from each other, making this a very biologically diverse place. The upper and lower prairies have some differences in flora, fauna, and climate. They are also geologically somewhat different. 
A stark, desolate, and seemingly lifeless place, the Badlands stands in stark contrast to the rampant commercialism, and tourist glitz of Wall, a mere thirty miles away.
Looking out over the edge of the badlands, at the lower prairie below. A view from the edge of the world, as we know it.
The height, grade, and general appearance of these formations tells you that this is one of the younger areas of the park, out along the edge. The sporadic cloud cover, helps to bring out the depth of the area.
More of the convoluted formations. A cloud passes overhead, casting a long shadow over part of the Badlands. The broken clouds were a real blessing, as the area is known for it's heat. Though the terrain seems bereft of life, it is there for those who know where to look. 
The colors, and striations are clear to see, and easy to match up, in views like this, making the history of the place easy to discern. The area, which we now call the Badlands, was in turn, and ocean, and inland sea, and a swamp, before being uplifted, and eroded away. 
A view across the lower prairie, from the top of one of the structures which makes up the wall.
Some bonehead (me actually) standing on the upper prairie, playing with his new video camera, at the edge of the Badlands. Note the reasonably normal appearance of the background. The Badlands are a pretty sudden phenomena, with little in the way of a gradual transition from the upper prairie.
Standing at the edge of the Badlands, getting ready to burn up another roll of film. Off in the distance can be seen rolling prairie, but no Badlands. This photo should give some idea of the suddenness of the appearance of the Badlands. They seem to just come out of nowhere, as if a huge hand had suddenly gouged a great great depression out of the Earth.
No huge hand, but that of erosion, scrapped out these features. The sharp claws of the hand were nothing but water. Looking down into the lower prairie, the work of this huge hand is evident. 
Feeling like a predatory bird, searching for prey, I perch atop the edge of the upper prairie, and look out across the lower prairie. The plains below, almost seem like a river valley, but where is the river? Twice a year, torrents of water give the area it's entire yearly supply of rain (8") This briefly floods the area, and erodes the rock, bringing forth a new crop of fossils
The "rock" of the Badlands has a coarse, grainy texture, as can be plainly seen in this photo. 
Sun, shadow, texture, and color. The Badlands photograph beautifully, and are a great study in contrasts. My brother wanders around the edge of the area, as the clouds move across the sun
The stereotypical view of the Badlands. This is the postcard view, and the picture that most tourists leave the area with, but there is more to the Badlands than this. The course of a short lived, and seasonally torrential stream can be seen sinuously winded around the formations. 
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