Geology Cafe

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. Here are some suggestions. But first, get a set of 3D glasses!

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

The large images are typically 800 x 600 pixals and work well in PowerPoint presentations, slide shows, or printed on paper in landscape orientation (check your print setup options). The 3D effects work equally well on computer screen, projected, or printed in color.

Teaching recommendations:

Elementary Grades: Students enjoy looking at photographs, especially in 3D! Prints of photographs can be posted around a room, or projected on screen. Select a dozen or more images that present aspects of what landscape features might be appropriate to you current lesson. You can choose from a variety of topical ideas from the subject list or map for ideas. It is good after giving a review to quiz students about:

1) what landscape features or types of vegetation they see in the image?
2) what part of the country, which state, and possibly which park it is?
3) be sure to have them explain "Why" they made thier 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 ancient 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.

For an advanced challenge, have student try to make their own 3D images! Click here to see a description on how to make 3D images (anaglyphs) similar to those on this website.

Note that not all students might not be able to see the 3D effects due to loss of eye sight or "lazy eye" conditioning. All images on this website are also available in non-3D format under the "photo" column on the main web page..

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).


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 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.

To learn more about how anaglyphs are made, click here.

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

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

This page is <http://geologycafe.com/gonp/>

Last modified 1/5/2005