TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Earth pillars. Pillars of soft, sedimentary rock topped by flat caps of harder rock, in a water- eroded landscape. An earth pillar (also called a hoodoo or demoiselle) is formed when a large piece of hard rock, such as volcanic rock, is deposited in a region of soft, easily eroded sedimentary rock that is subject to erosion by occasional heavy downpours. The rain weathers away the surroundings but leaves a column of rock behind, protected by its hard cap. Such structures are common in heavily eroded semi-arid areas, such as the badlands in Alberta, Canada, seen here.
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