White River Badlands and White River Fossils

Badlands National Park

The following pages contain images of the White River badlands and fossils found in the Badlands National Park. The White River badlands stretch across parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Images from other sections of the White River badlands will be loaded in the future. All fossil images were taken in the field. All fossils shown here were left in place, undisturbed. For an overview of the geologic history of the High Plains from the U.S. Geological Survey, click here.

Pawnee Buttes Badlands Page
Natural Fort Badlands Page
Painted Desert Virtual Tour
(not White River Badlands but still badlands)

Cedar Pass
The Wall, Cedar Pass area.

Brule Formation
Overlook showing Brule Formation.

Pierre Shale
View showing weathered top of the Cretaceous Pierre Shale.

Brule Formation
The fossils shown below are found in the Lower Brule Formation, a unit of the Oligocene White River Group. The fossils weather out of the retreating cliffs and accumulate on the more slowly eroding flats.

Another view of Badlands National Park.

Partial skull of Hyracodon
Partial skull of Hyracodon (a small primitive rhinoceros). The rock layer in which this fossil is found is known locally as the "red layer" due to iron oxide coating most of the fossils found here. This is unique to this layer, most White River fossils are pure white in color.

Leg bone
Leg bone, Lower Brule Formation (~10 cm in length).

Stylemys nebrascensis
Tortoise shell (Stylemys nebrascensis). This mostly intact tortoise shell is slightly squashed. These tortoise shells are the most common fossil found in this section of the White River Group.

Oreodont jaw
Oreodont jaw.

Oreodont scapula
Oreodont scapula.

Helix leidyi
Snail (Helix leidyi) on pedestal.

Helix leidyi
Another snail on pedestal.

Spallation weathering of siltstone.