The Badlands Guardian (also known as "Indian Head") 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 Aboriginal Canadian headdress, facing directly westward. Because of additional man-made structures, it also appears to be wearing earphones. The apparent earphones are a road and an oil well, which were installed recently and are expected to disappear once the project is abandoned. Its scale is much larger than the figures of Mount Rushmore.
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, which is formed by erosion on a stratum of clay, and is an instance of the Hollow-Face illusion. Its age is estimated to be in the hundreds of years at a minimum.
The feature was originally discovered by Lynn Hickox while examining images on the Google Earth application in November 2006. 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.
It is listed as the seventh of the top ten Google Earth finds by Time Magazine.