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Granite, glaciers, and rockfall in Yosemite Valley, California

By
Roger L. Putnam
Roger L. Putnam
Department of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3315, USA
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Greg M. Stock
Greg M. Stock
National Park Service, Yosemite National Park, El Portal, California 95318, USA
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Allen F. Glazner
Allen F. Glazner
Department of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3315, USA
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John M. Bartley
John M. Bartley
Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA
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Drew S. Coleman
Drew S. Coleman
Department of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3315, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2013

Abstract

Since the days of John Muir, the striking granitic topography of Yosemite Valley, California, has been understood to have been sculpted by glaciers and presently modified by rockfall. Glacial erosion has provided remarkably clean and extensive exposures of granitic rocks on the vertical walls that provide insights into intrusive relations and rockfall susceptibility. However, it is only with recent remote sensing methods that these exposures have been studied in detail. El Capitan presents an unparalleled exposure of the interior of a granitic plutonic system at the point of interaction between multiple intrusive suites and two sets of mafic dike swarms. The distribution and orientation of these units affected El Capitan's extensive rockfall history, including a huge postglacial rock avalanche at 3.6 ka. This two-day field trip will explore these ideas and apply them to some of the other classic cliffs of Yosemite Valley such as Glacier Point and Half Dome. We will present a new map of El Capitan and discuss the intrusive relationships exposed on the face while visiting several rockfall deposits and some of the classic vistas of Yosemite Valley, including El Capitan Meadow, Glacier Point, Taft Point, and Mirror Lake.

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Contents

GSA Field Guide

Geologic Excursions from Fresno, California, and the Central Valley

Keith Putirka
Keith Putirka
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences California State University, Fresno 2576 E. San Ramon Ave. M/S ST24 Fresno, California 93740 USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
32
ISBN electronic:
9780813756325
Publication date:
January 01, 2013

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