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Geology of National Parks, 3D and Photographic Tours

Geology of National Parks in 3D:
For Teachers and Students

How To Use This Website:

This photograph collection is useful for activities in many different grades. But first, get a set of 3D glasses!

Here are some suggestions:

Choose images to print or download by either browsing individual park websites or map index. Each park also has a thumbnail gallery (this link is to a gallery list).

The large images are typically 800 x 600 pixels and work well in PowerPoint presentations, slide shows, or prints in landscape orientation (check your print setup options). The 3D effects work equally well on computer screen, projected, or color prints. Note that not all students will be able to see the 3D effects owing to differences in vision. All images on this website are also available in non-3D format by clicking the "standard photo" button on the main web pages.

Teaching recommendations:

Elementary Grades: Students enjoy looking at photographs, especially in 3D! Photographs can be posted around a room or projected on screen. Select a dozen or more images that present aspects of landscape features appropriate to your current lesson. You can choose from a variety of topical ideas from the subject list . You may wish to focus on the following:

1) What landscape features or types of vegetation do they see in the image?
2) What part of the country, which state, and possibly which park is it?
3) Be sure to have them explain "Why" they made their choice.

Middle to High School: The same suggestions above apply, but for a higher level of thinking, students should be asked to explain:

4) What processes helped cause this landscape feature to form?
5) What natural processes are changing the landscape now?
6) How has vegetation adapted to this landscape? (soils, water, shade, elevation, wind, temperature, human impacts, etc.)
7) If you returned in 1,000 or 10,000 years, how might the landscape change?

Have students look at the links on the main park pages to get more information about each of the national parks. Many of the National Park Service websites provide links to information about ecology, park history, maps, and special topics related to park resources. Most USGS website links provide overviews of regional geology or geologic maps.

Photographs on this USGS website cannot be copyrighted. They can be used in other publications or presentations in any manner, however, acknowledgment of the USGS as the source would be appreciated. All modern photography presented within was taken by Philip Stoffer (USGS Menlo Park, CA).

3D glasses
Red and cyan 3D viewing glasses work best. Some glasses are darker than others, so we suggest the "lighter" variety to get a brighter image. The cost of glasses are about 25 cents each (plus shipping), but volume purchase can bring the price down. Many sites selling 3D glasses can be found on the World Wide Web.

High-end 3D glasses
High-end 3D glasses have plastic frames and are more durable, but really work no better than less expensive paper glasses. Be sure to warn students in advance not to get finger prints on the plastic lenses.

Click here to see how to make your own 3D glasses!

Images from National Parks Delicate Arch, Arches National Park Canyon de Chelly (Powell Survey, 1875) A Joshua tree, Mojave National Preserve Economic Geyser, Yellowstone National Park Dead Horse Point, Utah Deer Creek Falls, Grand Canyon National Park
The 3D images are anaglyphs and require red and cyan 3-D viewing glasses.
These full-size images average 500 KB each and may be slow to download.

This website was prepared by Phil Stoffer

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