A natural topographic feature in Canada which, when viewed from above, looks remarkably like a human wearing a Native American headdress and earphones.
The Badlands Guardian is a geomorphological feature 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. 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 in place only a few years, and will likely become invisible once the well falls into disuse and its superficial features are eroded.
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 positive feature, it is actually a negative feature (a valley).
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.
Originally discovered by Lynn Hickox, 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 channel.