Aerial images (collected by USDA and USGS) through time illustrate land use changes and are particularly interesting in areas of urban growth. Additionally, USGS geological information can be overlain to understand the type of rock of sediment in a particular area. The Fish Creek Glacier carved and deposited sediment in the Mountain-area of Steamboat Springs. Morainal Ridges (or depositional push-deposits) can be interpreted from aerial images and ground-truth-ed geology maps. For example, the Anglers neighborhood was built upon glacial push-moraine ridges. Moraines are glacial deposits that are typically hard and unsorted (contain mud-, silt-,sand-gravel- to boulder- sized) sediment that was transported and deposited at the base of the glacial. Push ridges are deposited by episodically surging and retreating glaciers. They can give an indication of the glacial/ climate conditions of that time.

Guide to creating 3D rock outcrop images.  Take pictures of rocks and ‘stitch’ the photos together to create a 3D model.

  1. Acquire a set of photos from different locations and angles
  2. Utilize advances in photogrammetry technology to process the images into a 3D model.
  3. Background information can be excluded so that the model focuses on the rock outcrops.



River Road rocks in 3D



Compared to the 2D photo (below), the 3D model (above) maintains high-quality imaging.

River Road rocks in 2D





Mad Creek Trail (just north of Steamboat Springs) is a popular and relatively easy hike.  It is about 1 hour to the barn (with a brisk pace) – leave additional time for investigating the rocks.  The first part of the hike is a relatively steep climb, but look for golden minerals – biotite mica (platy silicate minerals – igneous to metamorphic origin). The first 2/3 of the hike traverses through mainly metamorphic gneiss (layered metamorphosed sandstone and mudstone).  The rocks are also nearly vertical with an strike orientation ~ E-W.  This relates to the plate tectonic history of the rocks (Proterozoic subduction zone).  Look for some K-Feldspar-rich granite and basalt.  The last 1/3 of the hike before and including the area around the Mad Creek Barn traverses glacial till/moraine and glacial outwash sediment.  The terminus of the last glacial advance is interpreted to have occurred in this location (for maps and more information including references see Geology of Mad Creek Trail).