Regions of sparse exposure challenge geologic mappers because of limited information available on the underlying structure and continuity of the map units. We introduce here a little-known technique for post-processing bare earth digital terrain models (DTMs) that can dramatically improve knowledge of the underlying structure in covered areas. Texture shading enhances changes in slope and does not suffer from limitations introduced by artificial illumination required in hillshade or shaded relief images. When this technique is applied to lidar DTMs, layers of rock units with variable resistance to erosion can be clearly imaged, even in areas with limited outcrop. This technique enables one to collect comprehensive orientation data in areas of deformed sedimentary strata, assess the continuity of metamorphic and igneous rock units, and depict basement fracture sets. We demonstrate the use of texture shading in the Valley and Ridge of northern Pennsylvania, metamorphic rocks in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts and Green Mountains of Vermont, and glacial deposits in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York (northeastern United States).

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