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Badlands



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Whittled Away by Weather
Photograph by Annie Griffiths Belt

For millennia torrents from thunderstorms have helped carve the Badlands. Yet the shaping took only 500,000 years—an eyeblink of geologic time. For 37 million years before then, sediment flowed downhill from land rising to the west, creating the bedrock of the Badlands. Many of Earth's earliest mammals were trapped in layers of sediment, especially during the Oligocene epoch 37 to 25 million years ago. Rapid erosion, averaging an inch (three centimeters) a year, has exposed their bones, creating one of the world's richest fossil beds.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F4
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: Nikkor 180mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/2.8
Weather Conditions: Following a storm
Time of Day: Sunset
Lighting Techniques: Natural light


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