Wonders Of Natural Science: The Badlands Of South Dakota

Jan 24, 13 Wonders Of Natural Science: The Badlands Of South Dakota

In this edition of Wonders of Natural Science, we will examine the natural features of the Badlands in South Dakota.

GEOGRAPHY: The Badlands are found in Western South Dakota and also extend northward into Western North Dakota and further southward into Western Nebraska.  The Badlands are a geographic feature that is located just to the east of The Rockies and the Black Hills. These features that make up the badlands have been created by years and years of erosion which has been driven by the winds and rainfall of the region. The Badlands National Park System was setup to allow people to stop and visit and learn more about this great feature of nature.

Photo of Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Image Credit: Joshua Kelly

The thing that makes this region so cool to visit is not only the terrain, but also the roadway system that goes through this region. The roadway that goes through the South Dakota portion of the park is called Needles Highway. The reason it gets this name is due to the rough outlying area. The road has many fast and rapid turns as you navigate from the top of the buttes to the base of the valley.

GEOLOGY: The terrain as you see in the image above has a vast amount of geological aspects to it as well. The first aspect is that if you look at the rock you can see the multiple colors present in the stone. This has to do with both erosion and also the formation of these buttes. These formations are made up of multiple types of sands and grains, as well as different types of sand stones.

CLIMATE: The best time to visit the park depends on the climate, which is another aspect of the natural science of the region. The climate of this region varies from season to season, with the wettest time usually around June–typically the rainy season for the Badlands. Another time to visit would be anytime between November and February as many of the buttes will be covered with snow.  If you are interested in visiting the region before it gets to hot, the best time would be from May through June, and then again from September through October.

BIOLOGY: This region is quite diverse when it comes to animal inhabitants. Some of the animals found in the Badlands are: antelope, mule deer, prairie dog and of course the ever famous rattle snake.

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