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Formation of Yosemite Valley

  1. Apr 28, 2014 #1
    I recall watching a program on TV that said the Yosemite Valley was formed by graben as opposed to being carved out by a glacier.

    I wanted to look into it further, but haven't been able to find anything in the first several pages of Professor Google's archives.

    Is anyone familiar with this, or know of any links?
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
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  3. Apr 30, 2014 #2


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  4. Apr 30, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the reply 256. Yes, read the Wiki, that's how I was able to accurately term "graben".

    I haven't been able to find any sites that go into depth on the Yosemite valley being formed by graben.

    My query lies in my belief that the television show I saw was a recent production, and seemed to be on the side of the valley being formed by graben and not by glaciation.
  5. Apr 30, 2014 #4


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    There definitely is evidence of glaciation.
    The graben idea might have been resurrected recently after being dismissed for several decades.
    There also seems to be features that point to graben.
  6. Apr 30, 2014 #5

    So now I'm looking for peer-reviewed or likewise suitable documentation. I thought the community may know of a repository like arXiv. I couldn't find anything on it in arXiv.

    Thanks for humoring me...
  7. Apr 30, 2014 #6


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    This is comprehensive from the California Division of Mines about the geological history of the area. Even though dated 1962, it does explain some applicable features,

    http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/geology/publications/state/ca/cdmg-bul-182/index.htm [Broken]

    EDIT: Even though the television program may have been recent, since television is an entertainment medium rather than purely educational. Perhaps if could have been discussing the original proposition of Josiah Whitney (California State Geologist in 1860) of fault formation of Yosomite.
    John Muir's later predominent glacial origin theory of Yosemite was accepted as being correct.
    Since there actually was quite a lot of geological activity in the west coast ( not the same coast as seen today ) over the millions of years, the producers may have focused their attention on that, and sidestepped any later glacial impact in carving out the the area, into 60 minutes of viewership.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. May 8, 2014 #7
    There is, of course, no reason that both normal faulting (to produce a graben) should not have been followed by glacial erosion (to produce the current detailed topography).
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