Matt Payne Photography | New Mexico

Photographs taken in New Mexico, including the Bisti Badlands / De Na Zin Wilderness Area and the central badlands.

The area that includes the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness was once a riverine delta that lay just to the west of the shore of an ancient sea, the Western Interior Seaway, which covered much of New Mexico 70 million years ago. The motion of water through and around the ancient river built up layers of sediment. Swamps and the occasional pond bordering the stream left behind large buildups of organic material, in the form of what became beds of lignite. At some point, a volcano deposited a large amount of ash, and the river moved the ash from its original locations. As the water slowly receded, prehistoric animals survived on the lush foliage that grew along the many riverbanks. When the water disappeared it left behind a 1,400-foot (430 m) layer of jumbled sandstone, mudstone, shale, and coal that lay undisturbed for fifty million years. Sandstone layers were deposited above the ash and remains of the delta. The ancient sedimentary deposits were uplifted with the rest of the Colorado Plateau, starting about 25 million years ago. Six thousand years ago the last ice age receded, and the waters of the melting glaciers helped expose fossils and petrified wood, and eroded the rock into the hoodoos now visible.
The Dome of SilenceBone PortalMoonrise at Bisti BadlandsDe-Na-Zin Blue HourThe Pedestal and the PendulumDesert NocturnaPyramid of timeHunter Wash HoodooWhat lies beneathRock Wing in FlightSands of TimeIlluminatiGame of ThronesSpires and Waves

Categories & Keywords
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Keywords:Bisti Badlands, New Mexico, hoodoos