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Quaternary Landscape Development, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Grant Winners

  • Paul Baldauf, PhD
  • Eric Householder, MS
  • Todd Van Iderstine, BA


  • Don Rosenblum, PhD


Award Winners

The goal of this proposed study is to advance our understanding of landscape development in the Badlands National Park, South Dakota through analysis of Quaternary landslide events. Our previous work at Norbeck ridge suggests major environmental factors in the park trigger landslides, including tilted or dipping strata, vertical zones of weakness (joints), and slippage parallel to weak or incompetent formations. We hypothesize that wherever these conditions exist in the park, there is a strong potential for landslides. The objectives of this study are 1) to map bedrock and superficial deposits in the proposed field area at a 1:1000 scale, 2) create a landslide hazard map suitable for use by Badlands National Park personnel, 3) formulate a narrative history of recent (Quaternary) landscape development. Preliminary analysis of the proposed map area will be made using stereographic pairs of aerial photographs, available at the 1:20,000 scale from the Department of Agriculture, and 7.5 minute quadrangle maps from the US Geological Survey. In the field, we will record geological data using mobile GIS/GPS hardware. All field gathered data will be uploaded and spatially analyzed using ArcGIS 10 desktop software. We believe the goals and objectives of this proposal are strengthened by results from previous expeditions to the park in 2009 (Baldauf and Burkhart), Spring 2010 (Baldauf and Burkhart), and Winter 2010 (Baldauf). The money budgeted for this trip largely supports faculty and student travel to the field area in South Dakota, photographs, and maps. We will present the results of this study at the Fall 2011 and 2012 Geological Society of America Meetings, NSU faculty and student symposia.

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