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National Park Geology

Yosemite National park is not only an inspirational environment but an environment full of national park geology. Towering waterfalls, jagged cliffs, winding rivers, and sculptured granite all contribute to Yosemite's national park geology. The finely crafted national park geology appeals mostly to rock climbers (read more at Climbing Yosemite) as well as poets and tourists.

Learn more about national park Geology on a Yosemite and Giant Sequoias Tour or enjoy one of our overnight tours.

National Park Geology - Yosemite Valley Map

National Park Geology - Yosemite Timeline

Yosemite Valley's most interesting aspect of national park geology is probably how the valley was created. Yosemite valley is not a typical valley in that it was created by glicial erosion versus the more typical national park geology erosion cuased by rivers and streams.

Yosemite's national park geology is most comprised of granite rocks. National park geology tells us that these rocks have been packed under much pressure for a very long time and date back to the Precambrean time. 210 to 80 milliion years ago volcanos exposed the gradient rock.

In sudying naional park geology however, you will learn that most of the granit rock was eroded away. It's been debated about how the granite disappeared over time. Most geologists long ago assumed that the Merced river which runs throught Yosemite Valley was what caused the valley to erode, however no one could quite understand why it would do so and leave such a shape as the one it did. We know from other national park geology examples that a river erodes a valley into a v-shaped crevis, but Yosemite is flat on the bottom with paralell walls. Later on national park geology would reveal to us that it was actually glaciers that carved the rock and not the Merced river.

With that said rivers and mountain snow melt has been the main force eroding the valley since 8000 BC. For more in-depth discussion about national park geology you should take a Yosemite and Giant Sequoias Tour and enjoy our well-educated tour guides. Our guides will explain to you everything you'd ever want to know about national park geology and much much more.

If you have any other national park geology information you think would be useful, share it with us. You can send your comments to . We look forward to hearing from you!

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The National Park Service is a great resource for anything about US National parks.

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