Stephen J. Reynolds: Geologic Scenery Images

The images below illustrate how geology is expressed in the landscape. They were constructed using Metatools Bryce3D (both the Windows and Mac versions), an incredible virtual landscape generator. These and many similar images, along with numerous color photographs, will be incorporated in my forthcoming (actually, I'm writing it right now) book Geologic Scenery of the Southwest. All images are really compressed JPEG format, and so contain some compression-processing artifacts that are not in the original bitmaps. Trading quality for download time!

By Request -- Instructions for Using USGS Digital Elevation Models (DEM) in Bryce 3D

Deposition of Layers and Erosion into a Canyon

These images show succesive deposition of layers and then their erosion into a canyon landscape. They are 30 to 50 kb each. The sequence of colors, with red in the middle and yellowish on top and bottom, are intended to represent in a general sense the sequence in the Grand Canyon.

Deposition of First Layer --- Deposition of Second Layer

Deposition of Third Layer --- Erosion of Layers by Canyon

Want to see the animated-gif version?  It's 120Kb, so will play slowly the first time through as it loads each image, and then will speed up.

Erosion of Layers into a Mesa and Buttes

This sequence shows how erosion of layered rocks result in mesas and buttes.

Deposition of Layers
Begin Erosion
More Erosion
Formation of Mesa
Formation of Buttes
Buttes with other cliffs in background and natural sky

Mogollon Rim with two different geologic terrains

Mogollon Rim, viewed toward the east, from above Payson

Bryce 3D images of Geologic Scenery

Canyonlands small (individual rock units are not shown yet, but will be)
Canyonlands larger (the real big one isn't on my website)
Black Canyon of the Gunnison, with metamorphics, dikes, and great unconformity.
Bigger version of the Black Canyon image.

Interaction of Topography and Dipping Layers

Horizontal layers
Dipping 15 degrees up stream
Dipping 20 degrees down stream
Dipping 25 degrees to the side
Dipping 45 degrees up stream
Vertical layers

Tilted Layers and Their Topographic Expression

Horizontal Layers on a Plateau
Horizontal Layers on a Plateau with Sand Cover
Gently Tilted (10 degrees) Layers and Topography
Moderately Tilted (45 degrees) Layers On Generic Topography
Moderately Tilted (45 degrees) Layers on Generic Topography with Sand Cover
Vertical Layers On Generic Topography
Vertical Layers On Linear Ridges with Sand Cover
Throw in Some Vegetation on the Flat Areas

Colored Mesa

For these images, I used Bryce2 to develop a sophisticated bump map that has a striated and ribbed cliffs and softer, bumpy texture on gentle slopes. It's just like the real thing, with joints and bedding visible in the cliffs, but not on the soil-covered, softer layers.

Gray and Pink --- Gray and Orange --- Red and Orange

Slot Canyon and Geologic Map

The Big Version of Slot Canyon
Geologic Map of Arizona Draped Over Digital Topography (DEM) of the Mogollon Rim
Geologic Map of Arizona Draped Over DEM of Marble Platform
Geologic Map of Arizona Draped Over DEM of Marble Platform Close-Up

Email: Steve Reynolds: sreynolds at

S. Reynolds Home Page

All Images Stephen J. Reynolds. Noncommercial uses are OK as long as source is acknowledged.

Page created by: S. Reynolds.