What are Hoodoos?

I like the word “hoodoo”. It sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? Hoodoos (also called tent rocks, earth pyramids and fairy chimneys) are rock formations that are unusually shaped, often looking like a pillar with a flat capstone that I think looks like a mushroom top. Their shapes have been naturally carved out of layered rock by the erosion caused by natural elements – wind, rain, snow, sun. Many of them are found in the dry, northern US states. Others are found in the Alberta Badlands, where we were lucky enough to see them in person on a recent trip.

There are humongous valleys of badlands with various sizes of hoodoos – from 5 feet to 150 feet tall.

How did the word “hoodoo” originate? Some say it came from “voodoo”, a West-African religion that associates magical powers with natural features.

One of the interesting things about these hoodoos in Drumheller, Alberta, is that as the erosion took place and formed the hoodoos, it also uncovered a lot of dinosaur bones. Drumheller has one of the world’s top dinosaur museums, the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and it’s absolutely fascinating to walk through and see the dozens of different types. The first one they uncovered was in 1884. Did you know they recently discovered a new type? It’s called Regaliceratops peterhewski and nicknamed “Hellboy” because it was so difficult to extract from the hard rock. Its bones are 68 millions years old!

Have you ever seen a hoodoo or dinosaur exhibit? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

See more of our Badlands photos.

Image credit: LookLagoon.com