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U.S. Geological Survey
Geologic Investigations Series I-2781

The North America Tapestry of Time and Terrain

By Kate E. Barton, David G. Howell, José F. Vigil

thumbnail of map


The North America Tapestry of Time and Terrain (1:8,000,000 scale) is a product of the US Geological Survey in the I-map series (I-2781). This map was prepared in collaboration with the Geological Survey of Canada and the Mexican Consejo Recursos de Minerales.

This cartographic Tapestry is woven from a geologic map and a shaded relief image. This digital combination reveals the geologic history of North America through the interrelation of rock type, topography and time. Regional surface processes as well as continent-scale tectonic events are exposed in the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension, geologic time. The large map shows the varying age of bedrock underlying North America, while four smaller maps show the distribution of four principal types of rock: sedimentary, volcanic, plutonic and metamorphic.

This map expands the original concept of the 2000 Tapestry of Time and Terrain, by José F. Vigil, Richard J. Pike and David G. Howell, which covered the conterminous United States. The U.S. Tapestry poster and website have been popular in classrooms, homes, and even the Google office building, and we anticipate the North America Tapestry will have a similarly wide appeal, and to a larger audience.


These files work best when you download them to your computer's hard disk and viewing them with the regular stand-alone version of Acrobat. To get your computer to download, right-click (PC) or Control click (Mac) on the links below.

Download this map as a PDF file (i2781_c.pdf; 131 MB)

Download this map as a medium-resolution (300 dpi) PDF file (i2781_c_med.pdf; 22.8 MB)

Download this map as a low-resolution (144 dpi) PDF file (i2781_c_low.pdf; 2.8 MB)

Download a smaller, jpeg version of the Tapestry (NorthAmericaTapestry.jpg; 1.2 MB)

Download the files used for printing this map

For questions about the content of this report, contact David Howell ( or the Western Earth Surface Processes Team.

Download a current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader for free

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This map is also available from:

USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
telephone: 303-202-4210; e-mail:

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: May 28, 2003
Last modified: September 24, 2009 (mfd)

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