Badlands Guardian

The Badlands Guardian is a geomorphological feature located near Medicine Hat in the south east corner of Alberta, Canada. Viewed from the air, the feature bears a strong resemblance to a human head wearing a full native American headdress, facing directly westward. Because of additional man-made structure, it also appears to be wearing earphones. The apparent earphones are a road and an oil well, which has been recently installed.

The head is a drainage feature created through erosion of soft, clay-rich soil by the action of wind and water. The arid badlands are typified by infrequent but intense rain-showers, sparse vegetation and soft sediments. The ‘head’ may have been created during a short period of fast erosion immediately following intense rainfall. Although the image appears to be a convex feature, it is actually concave — that is, a valley, an instance of the Hollow-Face illusion.

In 2006 Medicine Hat’s CHAT-TV Reporter Dale Hunter did a short feature on the Badlands Guardian. It was the winner of the RTNDA National- TV – short feature award for that year.

The feature was originally discovered by Lynn Hickox while examining images on the Google Earth application. Suitable names were canvassed by CBC Radio One program As It Happens. Out of 50 names submitted, seven were suggested to the Cypress County Council. They altered the suggested ‘Guardian of the Badlands’ to become Badlands Guardian.

The Badlands Guardian was also described by the Sydney Morning Herald as a “net sensation”. PCWorld magazine has referred to the formation as a “geological marvel”. The Guardian was also covered by Canada’s Global Television.

All or part of the article above was taken from the Wikipedia article Badlands Guardian, licensed under CC-BY-SA.