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badlands, area of severe erosion, usually found in semiarid climates and characterized by countless gullies, steep ridges, and sparse vegetation. Badland topography is formed on poorly cemented sediments that have few deep-rooted plants because short, heavy showers sweep away surface soil and small plants. Depressions gradually deepen into gullies. The term badlands was first applied to the arid, dissected plateau region of SW South Dakota by Native Americans and fur trappers who found the area difficult to cross. South Dakota's Big Badlands, also known as the Badlands of the White River, are the world's best and most extensive (c.2,000 sq mi/5,180 sq km) example of this topography. Gullies have cut as deep as 500 ft (152 m) below the plateau's surface, and differences in rock type have created colorful and spectacular formations. The Big Badlands are famous for fossils of prehistoric animals. Badlands National Park, 242,756 acres (98,316 hectares), (authorized as a national monument in 1929, designated a national park in 1978) occupies most of the region. The park is noted for its scenery, its fossils of prehistoric animals, and its varied wildlife, including bison, bighorn sheep, deer, antelope, and prairie dogs. See National Parks and Monuments (table).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



sharply and complexly disjointed low mountainous relief which is difficult to travel through and unsuitable for agriculture.

Badlands consist of an intricate set of branching gullies and the narrow ridges which divide them. They originate primarily in regions with a dry climate, especially where there are water-resistant clayey soils as a result of washing out by temporary (torrential) floods. They are widespread in most mountainous desert and semidesert areas of the world. As a result of irrational utilization of land and cutting down of mountain forests, badlands also arise in steppe and forest-steppe zones. The classical badlands developed in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains in North America. In the USSR they are confined to the desert piedmont areas of Middle Asia, as well as Kazakhstan.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


An erosive physiographic feature in semiarid regions characterized by sharp-edged, sinuous ridges separated by steep-sided, narrow, winding gullies.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Badlands Pawn, Gold & Jewelry is a $15 million venture.
RANK and file gardai last night accused the Justice Minister of allowing Ireland to become a "lawless badland".
The Badlands is probably the best choice for a visit this time of year.
It is a nightmare for parking and it is too far into the badlands."
Not only was he discriminating against them as patrons, he wasn't hiring them at Badlands and at some of his other local businesses.
The scientists can now examine a fossil from the Badlands park and identify the setting in which it was initially buried.
From April to June, hundreds of turkey vultures--with red heads and wingspans of up to 6 feet--return to nest here and ride the thermals above the treeless wind-sculpted badlands of eastern Montana.
Scouring for fossils in the Patagonian badlands of Argentina, a team of 12 paleontologists (fossil scientists) held their breath when they chanced on a stretch of untouched desert.
The movie, the first one in 25 years by Terrence Malick, director of cult film Badlands, also stars Sean {Penn - who took along wife Robin Wright and their son Hopper.
The national forests and grasslands of Region One stretch from the prairies and badlands of the Dakotas, through eastern Montana's rolling hills and isolated ponderosa-pine woodlands, to the rugged mountaintops and steep, timbered canyons in western Montana and northern Idaho.
Roughly, the region extending from the Mississippi to the Rockies, but excluding the arid portions of the Southwest and the Dakota badlands. Before the white man came, the plains were covered with tough grass that supported huge herds of bison, and there were few trees.