The Dragon Wagon

The Dragon Wagon
The landscaping changes often.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Bisti Badlands

The Bisti Badlands are part of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in northwest New Mexico.  Roughly 70 million years ago, a river delta system deposited a 1,400 foot thick layer of jumbled sandstone, mudstone, shale and coal.  These deposits have been uplifted and are now eroding rapidly, producing a wonderland of fantastical shapes.  We spent a day hiking just a small portion of this area.

View from the parking area

As we hiked, we found several small washes with recently formed sediment ripples.

We often saw fragments of petrified wood.

There are many beds of lignite coal, some eroded nearly completely away.  There are no marked/defined trails in the badlands, so we wondered if the stone on this small mound of coal was original or if someone had placed it there to mark the way back to the parking area.

Layers of reddish-orange rocks were formed by adjacent coal layers that had burned in the distant past.  As these layers were eroded, small pieces of red rock spread over the nearby area.

One of the areas filled with hoodoos and other erosional shapes

Colorful peaks in the distance

We saw many of these colorful nodules.

Some fantastical shapes

A very colorful hill

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting geology. Some of the shapes almost look man made.