Friday, October 9, 2009

Under the Volcano and Into the Abyss: Yosemite National Park



Yosemite National Park is the oldest "national" park in the United States, having been established by Congress and Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War as a protected reserve deeded to California. It became an official national park in 1890, third after Yellowstone and Sequoia. I did a short blog series (boog? bleeries?) on some of the less familiar sights that one-time visitors might miss if they spend all their time looking at Yosemite Falls or Half Dome. I recalled the series while discussing America's relationship to the national park system in the aftermath of the wonderful Ken Burns documentary "The National Parks: America's Greatest Idea". I have them (semi) organized below in the order that they appeared. I've also included a flurry of posts on some of the rock falls in the last year. If you are ever headed out to Yosemite, check out the NAGT geologic road guide to Yosemite Valley and the western Sierra foothills (the extended wood-pulp version can be ordered here).

Photo of the Day - Feeling Crushed? : this series started far from Yosemite, but rocks in the Coast Ranges are very much part of the story. Sierra granites originate from subduction of crust and subsequent melting of these rocks to form magma. We take a drive into the crust that would make Ms. Frizzle jealous

Journey to the Center of the Earth (well, the mantle at least) A brief look at chrome and mercury mining in the Coast Ranges, in the subduction zone rocks

Continuing Journey in the Earth - Taking the Time Machine When granites were forming under the future Sierra Nevada, dinosaurs and sea-going reptiles prowled the ancient land surfaces

Standing Underneath Volcanoes We arrive at Yosemite Valley and I describe the familiar scene from the Tunnel View, and explain the odd title

Touring the Underside of the Volcanoes, Part 2 How easy is it to visit the underside of a volcano? We find out, and what enclaves are in this post

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis Taking a closer look at the Cathedral Rocks and the El Capitan granite that forms the impressive cliffs

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 2 Another less familiar cliff is Sentinel Rock (see the second picture above), and the Sentinel granodiorite of which it is composed

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 3 One of the unknown waterfalls in Yosemite is the rarely seen Sentinel Falls, on the south side of the valley across from Yosemite Falls

Exploring Yosemite, continued and the Rock of the Day A brief foray west of the park on a beautiful spring day, and a look at some of the older metamorphic rocks

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 4 Who's heard of Lehamite Falls? Many park visitors ignore them, for they are overshadowed by nearby Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls: The Spectacle that Almost Wasn't Yosemite Falls are actually an aberration! They were once far more like Lehamite Falls in the previous post...I explain why

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 5 A look at the Lost Arrow

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 6 The highest unbroken waterfall in Yosemite is not named Yosemite! I describe it in this post

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 7 Another little-known fall, the Royal Arch Cascades, behind the Ahwahnee Lodge

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 8 Silver Strand Falls, another unknown waterfall

Under the Volcano: Changing the Emphasis -Part 9 Sometimes the familiar sights become transformed by different timing. Yosemite Falls at night, one of the few times we ever had the valley to ourselves

Staring into the Abyss - Yosemite as you (maybe) have never seen it We leave the valley floor and take in the view from the edge of the abyss at Taft Point

Staring into the Abyss #2 - Yosemite as you (maybe) have never seen it The Three Brothers from the rim, and Yosemite's largest historically recorded rockfall

Staring into the Abyss #3 - Yosemite as you (maybe) have never seen it Looking west from Taft Point towards the Cathedral Rocks, and what happened to Yosemite's meadows?

Staring into the Abyss #4 - Yosemite as you (maybe) have never seen it (and my 100th Post!) There are many domes in the vicinity of Yosemite Valley, and most did not form because of glaciation. A discussion of North Dome and Basket Dome, from Glacier Point

Staring up out of the Abyss: Check out this fire in Yosemite I link to one of the most extraordinary pictures I've ever seen of Yosemite. A fire was burning on the north rim, dropping embers into the valley. Spectacular!

Staring into the Abyss #5 - Yosemite as you (maybe) have never seen it Nevada and Vernal Falls from the Glacier Point area

Taking the High Ground: Yosemite as you (maybe) haven't seen it Climbing Sentinel Dome. A bit shorter than Half Dome, and a lot easier to climb!

Revisiting Yosemite Several weeks passed, and I made a few last posts before embarking on my journey through the Colorado Plateau. Yosemite Falls on a very windy day

An Alternate View of Upper Yosemite Falls My photo of Upper Yosemite Falls from an odd angle.

Is This the Most Beautiful Tree in the World? Several months passed, and several posts continued the tour of the valley floor; my favorite oak tree started a mini-meme

More Beautiful Trees... The tree meme grows...

Even More Beautiful Trees, and a Sequoia Story ...and grows some more!

How It Was: Yosemite Valley Yesterday... I visit the valley on a rainy November day, and watch Yosemite Falls go from dry to booming in a few short hours

Rocks fall in Yosemite? I had no idea that could happen! A discussion of rock falls in the valley; there was a lot going on in the valley in 2008-09!

Rocks fall in Yosemite: Park Service closes 1/3 of Curry Village More rock falls

During a Drought, What Do You Think About? In the midst of one of the worst drought years in decades, I ruminate on the incredible 1997 floods in Yosemite Valley and downstream

An Extraordinary Picture (at least for us Central Valley denizens) We find that Half Dome is visible from the Central Valley (on those rare clear days, anyway)

How it was: Yosemite Valley on a Saturday in April A springtime trip to the valley in the aftermath of a major rockfall. Several posts followed...

First Look: Ahwiyah Rock Fall in Yosemite A first look at the Ahwiyah Rock Fall from near Half Dome. The view of Yosemite changes forever!

Another Look: The Ahwiyah Slide in Yosemite Got as close as I could to the new rock fall (don't people usually run the other way?)

A Final Look (for now): The Ahwiyah Point Slide in Yosemite The dust settles...

The Ahwiyah Point Rockfall: the View I Wish I Had The National Park Service checks in with some great photos of the rockfall

Ahwiyah Point Rock Fall Update: Before and After Photos Doug Nelson provides a great view of the rockfall from Glacier Point

Geologic Change in Yosemite: Remembering the Happy Isles Slide of 1996 A look at the big slide behind Happy Isles...

Another Rock Fall in Yosemite ...and the next day, another fall takes place!

Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss and America's Greatest Idea And we arrive at the most recent post on my favorite park.

I intend to continue some photo-essays on Yosemite National Park. I'll update this post as they appear. If you take the time to check them out, I thank you and hope you enjoy the series!

1 comment:

sia said...

Very nice blog!!This is my favorite national park. Amazing place! Each season you get to see some new thing in the park. I have been going here since I 2 years and have visited the park at least 14 times. Winter season is the best to visit. The waterfalls get turns into a giant ice walls. I am again planning for the next visit.
Yosemite national park