Yosemite National Park rockfall

California: After a Rockfall the size of a building killed one person and injured another on Wednesday, the danger continued with a massive rockfall on Thursday. The rockfall was 10 times larger and injured 1 person whose name has not been revealed yet.

Rockfalls are a common occurrence in Yosemite National Park

“Rockfalls are a common occurrence in Yosemite Valley and the park records about 80 rockfalls per year; though many more rockfalls go unreported. The rockfall from El Capitan [on Wednesday] was similar in size and extent compared with other rockfalls throughout the park, though it is not typical that that there were victims.

It has been 18 years since the last rockfall-related fatality in Yosemite National Park. In that incident, rock climber Peter Terbush was killed by a rockfall from Glacier Point June 13 1999. There have now been 16 fatalities and more than 100 injuries from rockfalls since park records began in 1857″ – Park officials on the Wednesday Mishap.” – Park Authorities

Yosemite National Park is familiar with regular rockfalls with one fall every week. However, the fatalities are rare. Just after the British couple were killed on Wednesday by a large granite slab where the man identified as Andrew Foster aged 32 died and his wife is still hospitalized.

Second Rockfall to Injure Another Person Comes From The Same Source

The release point of the rockfall that startled the Yosemite National Park on Thursday appears to be the same as the previous incident. The Waterfall route is a famous route for the adventurous climbers during this climbing season in Yosemite. This is the route where Horsetail fall flows from spring to winter season.

The recent rock fall incident happened around noon when a massive rock fell and sent plumes of cloud dust down the valley. The debris had also reached the roads causing the Park to detour the way for Yosemite Park exit.

Tourists were guided to use the Southside drive exit while Northside was closed to clear the debris on the road.

Consecutive Rock Falls are Expected in El Capitan, Caution Advised

Regular Climber Ryan Sheridan had just reached the top of El Capitan when the humongous rock fell below him.

“There was so much smoke and debris. It filled the entire valley with smoke.”, he told an Associated Press

Park Geologists are trying to figure out the cause of consecutive massive rock falls. The El Capitan has been formed as layers of rocks which were peeled away from the mountainside like an onion.

U.S. Geological Survey and the Park Geologists have discovered heat to be the prominent reason behind the rock falls. As the temperature increases from morning to noon and then drops in the evening, the tips of cracks weaken. Over time, this stress from the heat causes the rocks to fall.

Climbers have been asked to proceed with caution since these large chunks of spontaneous rock falls can occur anytime.

“After yesterday, I guarantee there’s no climbers climbing near that rock. If they were, they’re crazy.”- Ken Yager, President of Yosemite Climbing Association.


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