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North Dakota Eclectics

The Badlands
In North Dakota, the Badlands are a strip of very rough country, about twenty miles wide, and extending from the southwestern corner of the state north, past the Killdeer Mountains, and east to the Missouri River. Formed by the Little Missouri River, the Badlands are about one hundred and fifty miles long.

Once, the region that is now known as the Badlands was a smooth prairie, and its former surface can be seen in the tops of its buttes. Buttes are flat on the top because the original surface of the prairie was flat, and the top layer of rock resisted erosion because of its hard surface.

Although the former prairie was flat, it did slant. The Little Missouri River flowed swiftly through the area, carrying an lot of sediment and cutting a deep river bed. The Little Missouri River washed away much of the original prairie, leaving several steep hills and buttes behind, separated by deep ravines, gorges, and valleys.

While not good for farming or agriculture, the Badlands are good land for grazing and ranching, as grass is plentiful in the valleys, and available in summer and winter.

The petrified forests, found in the Badlands, show that the area was heavily wooded at one time. Large petrified logs and stumps were formed when the seas flooded the area. The water was heavy in minerals, which remained in the cavities of the wood after the water dried up. As the wood decayed, minerals replaced the decayed wood, cell by cell, retaining the same structure as the original wood.

Of Interest