We are spending the next few days on a road trip to the Badlands of South Dakota located in the eastern part of the state. I was even treated to the annual Perseid meteor shower in the national park, one of the darkest places I've ever been, every night around midnight.
In the Badlands, you can see the effects of erosion firsthand. The colorful spires resembling castles are the remains of a giant salt water sea. For approximately 30 million years, layers of mud, sand, and gravel accumulated in the area. Many fossils of prehistoric animals are found in the layers of deposits. The layers contain tinges of manganese, iron, and volcanic ash causing the purple, orange, tan, white, and grey stripes in the hills.
The area was established as a national monument in 1939. In 1978, it was designated a national park and covers 244,300 acres of the White River Badlands.