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A View of Ancient Yosemite Falls

A cache by TerryDad2 Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 01/15/2011
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Terrain:
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

Ancient Yosemite Falls flowed down the eroded boulder strune canyon a little to the west of its current course. It was only after a recent glacial episode that a moraine redirected the water flow to its current course.

As you embark or continue your journey to discover and explore beautiful and historic rocks, waterfalls, peaks, creeks and other wonders, please keep in mind that these places need to remain wild and protected so that they may be enjoyed by others for generations to come. Please be diligent in respecting these sites by doing the following:

  1. Please keep trash with you at all times, do not leave it behind in these pristine places.
  2. Bury human waste 6 inches deep, make certain you are at least 50 paces away from any water source and PLEASE bring your toilet paper and sanitary items back out with you.
  3. Keep food and all scented items on your person at all times.
  4. Support wildlife by allowing them to find their own food, do not feed them.
  5. Allow plants to grow and water to stay clean by staying on trails, bike paths and roads.
Thank you, Yosemite Wilderness Management

There is a small parking lot at the trailhead to Sentinel Dome. A short hike brings you to the edge of the valley where you can look out to the north toward Yosemite Falls. The road and trail are closed in the winter.

The view from the coordinates shows the hanging valley of Yosemite Falls. The falls are fed by Yosemite Creek, the largest stream on the north side of the valley. However, this was not always so.

It is likely that more that 36 different glaciations covered the Sierra Nevada beginning as early as 2.5 million years ago to about 200,000 years ago. Of these the Sherwin Glaciation was likely the largest and longest, beginning about 900,000 years ago and lasting over 300,000 years. This glaciation likely created the majority of features of Yosemite Valley.

At the end of the Sherwin glaciation, Yosemite Creek followed a path to the west of its current channel. It was fed by a small drainage between Yosemite and Indian Canyon Creeks, likely resulting in an ephemeral flow. The trail from the valley floor to the top of the falls uses this ancient falls.

About 130,000 years ago, the Tahoe glaciation reached its peak. As the glaciers receded, a moraine blocked the ancient channel of Yosemite Creek and redirected the flow to its current channel. Now the falls create the highest waterfall in North America, a total drop of 2,425 feet (the height of the Sears Tower and the Eiffel Tower combined). The ancient falls have since been filled by a rockfall.

Logging questions:

  1. The text "GC2MEC6 A View of Ancient Yosemite Falls " on the first line.
  2. The number of people in your group (put in the log as well).
  3. Which was steeper, the ancient falls or the current falls?
  4. Are the current or ancient falls higher? .

The following sources were used to generate this cache:

  • Matthes, Francois. 1930 USGS. Geological Survey Professional Paper 160 Geologic History of the Yosemite Valley. http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/geology/publications/pp/160/index.htm Last Updated: 28-Nov-2006
  • http://www.yosemite.ca.us/yosemitefallsfacts.html
  • Huber, King. 2003 Yosemite Falls a New Perspective. Sierra Nature Notes, Volume 3, March 2003. http://www.sierranaturenotes.com/naturenotes/YosFalls.htm
  • Leavitt, Amanda. 2008. Glaciers – A Force Like No Other Evolution of Yosemite: A Tale of Glaciers Past. January 1. http://www.indiana.edu/~sierra/papers/2007/leavitt.pdf .

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