Home Archived Aug 4, 2016

USGS Geology in the Parks

Geology resources and PDF images to download

Park interpreters and educators: Are you developing your own interpreter's manual or a new geology program? Many of the web pages you see on this site are being developed as downloadable PDF documents that you can print or modify to fit your needs. A link to the free PDF software you'll need is available at this site. There are several charts, diagrams, and explanatory pages available. These are in the public domain, so use anything that is helpful to you! We simply ask that you keep our logos on the page or cite the source so that others can find and access these resources too. Be sure to let us know what else you would like to see here!

Images and documents available:

Geology Animations:

All about PDF documents:


This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics

This section contains illustrations from, or inspired by, the popular USGS plate tectonics booklet, This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics, and companion map. Please don't remove the USGS logo or citations so that others may find us too!

PDF logo Convergent boundary Gray-scale diagram of convergent plate boundary.

PDF logo Earth's tectonic plates Gray-scale map of the Earth's major tectonic plates.

PDF logo World volcano map World map showing locations of historically (Holocene) active volcanoes. The data used to make this map is from the USGS map This Dynamic Planet.

PDF logo World earthquake map World map showing locations of earthquake epicenters recorded between 1960-1990 of magnitudes 4.0-7.0 (>7, 1897-1990).

PDF logo Big, deep earthquakes World map showing locations of earthquake epicenters recorded between 1960-1990 of magnitudes over 7.0 (1897-1990) and deeper than 60 km.

PDF logo World map World map with latitude, longitude, and continental boundaries for use with earthquake and volcano maps above.

PDF logo Plate puzzle part 1, Plate puzzle part 2 Earth's tectonic plates arranged as a puzzle for classroom activities. Download as two separate pages.


General geology

PDF logo Karst Topography paper model (HTML), (PDF) This model and teacher's guide are for anyone age 10 and up who is fascinated by caves.

Seven Paper Models that Describe Faulting of the Earth These models and teacher's guide include normal, reverse, strike-slip, oblique-slip faults, and horst and graben patterns.

PDF logo Plate tectonics overview Overview of plate tectonics. Designed for teachers and NPS interpreters, may be suitable as a supplement for some high school courses.

PDF logo Rock cycle Diagrammatic representation of the rock cycle in a plate tectonics context.

PDF logo Rock classification chart Overview of three basic rock types.

PDF logo Strain Diagram showing some effects of shortening ('compression') and extension.

PDF logo Age of the Earth, Radiometric dating Overview of evidence for a 4.55 billion year age of the Earth.
Overview of radiometric dating techniques.
Written at upper high school to college level.

PDF logo Geologic time scale (DNAG) Black and white version of Decade of North America time scale.


Lake Mead National Recreation Area


Mojave National Preserve

PDF logo Mojave National Preserve geologic tour. (coming soon!)
Map of Mojave Geology field trip stops (134 kb)

PDF logo Mojave geologic time scale
Geologic events in Mojave Preserve region through time

PDF logo Hole in the Wall
Page 1 (1.1 MB), Page 2 (257 KB).

PDF logo Kelso Dunes
Page 1 (131 KB), Page 2 (84 KB).

For technical resources, don't forget to visit Mojave National Preserve's Geologist's page

PDF logoWhat are Adobe Acrobat PDF documents?

Unlike the fuzzy graphics you print directly from the internet, PDF documents retain crisp, clean lines and shading. These documents are designed with the needs of teachers and NPS interpreters in mind. Illustrations are black and white with gray-scale shading appropriate for photocopy duplication.

In order to access these files, you need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. A new, free version of Acrobat Reader is now available from the Adobe download site.

How do I download Adobe Acrobat Reader?

To download and print Adobe Acrobat/PDF files:

The Adobe Acrobat reader is a freeware product available from Adobe at http://www.adobe.com. There are versions of the Adobe Acrobat reader for several computer platforms. Click here to connect to the Adobe Acrobat site. Once there you can obtain the reader for your computer platform. Follow the instructions on the Adobe site to install the reader on your system. Once you have installed the reader you can view or print files from any site that end in .PDF.

Some browsers will allow you to configure a "helper" application that will load the Adobe Acrobat reader whenever you click on a file that ends in .PDF. Please refer to the instructions that came with your web browser on how to set up or install a "helper" application. The Adobe site also contains instructions on how to do this.

The Windows file manager will also allow you to specify an association so that whenever Windows needs to display a file that ends in .PDF it will load the Adobe Acrobat reader.


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