Rock Strength Properties of Granitic Rocks in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Data Series 1126
Prepared in cooperation with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, National Park Service, and Université de Lausanne
By: , and 

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Abstract

Yosemite National Park, located in the central part of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, is a glacially carved landscape filled with iconic rock formations such as Cathedral Peak, El Capitan, and Half Dome. Igneous rocks, consisting primarily of variations of granite, granodiorite, and tonalite, make up the majority of the bedrock geology and their overall strength supports the spectacular cliffs and domes of Yosemite Valley that draw many visitors to the park. These same sheer cliffs also are the source areas for frequent rock falls, which, in addition to being the primary mechanism for cliff formation, can also pose a hazard to visitors and infrastructure located below.  To obtain rock strength parameters for use in assessing rock-fall potential in Yosemite National Park, we conducted a comprehensive rock mechanics laboratory testing program on a set of granitic rocks that form many of the cliffs in Yosemite Valley.

Suggested Citation

Collins, B.D., Sandstrone, F., Gastaldo, L., Stock, G.M., and Jaboyedoff, M., 2020, Rock strength properties of granitic rocks in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1126, 158 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1126.

ISSN: 2327-638X (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Study Area Background
  • Rock Units Tested
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Unconfined Compressive Strength Test Results and Sample Photographs
  • Appendix 2. Triaxial Compressive Strength Test Results and Sample Photographs
  • Appendix 3. Chevron Bend (CB) Method Mode I Fracture Toughness Strength Test Results and Sample Photographs
  • Appendix 4. Cracked Chevron Notched Brazilian Disk (CCNBD) Method Mode I Fracture Toughness Strength Test Results and Sample Photographs

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Rock strength properties of granitic rocks in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California
Series title Data Series
Series number 1126
DOI 10.3133/ds1126
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description vii, 158 p.
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Yosemite National Park
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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