Yosemite’s Geological Gem: Revelations of the Crack

If you’ve been following news about Yosemite National Park lately, you’ll likely have heard about the giant crack that has appeared in the granite cliffs.

crack in yosemite

This famous rock formation is a popular destination for climbers and hikers alike, but the discovery of such a large crack in Yosemite’s El Capitan has taken many by surprise. 

Location of the Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is located in central California and spans a massive 1,200 square miles of terrain. The park is known for its majestic rock formations, giant sequoia trees, waterfalls, and wildlife. It’s a popular destination for tourists from all over the world and is especially famous for its hiking and climbing trails. It’s also home to El Capitan, a 3,000-foot granite cliff face that draws visitors from far and wide.

A few facts about the crack

The Yosemite crack is a massive crevice that has opened up in the granite cliffs of El Capitan. The crack is estimated to be around a mile long and as deep as 1,000 feet (0.3 km) in some places. It first appeared in late September 2017 and took many climbers by surprise. The Yosemite crack is located on the southeast face of the mountain and is easily visible from the nearby Yosemite Valley.

Some things that can happen because of the crack 

At present, the Yosemite crack is causing concern for local authorities and climbers alike. The crack has been growing rapidly over the past few months and shows no signs of slowing down. This has created a potentially dangerous situation for climbers on El Capitan, who could be at risk if the crack continues to grow. There’s also a risk that rock slides could be triggered if the crevice becomes unstable.

yosemite crack

Details about the crack in Yosemite

Despite these concerns, there are also many fascinating aspects of the Yosemite crack to consider. For instance, the crack has given scientists a unique opportunity to study the geology of the mountain in more detail. By analyzing samples of the rock from the crack, geologists hope to gain a better understanding of how mountains are formed and why they change over time. It’s also interesting to note that many climbers have expressed excitement at the prospect of tackling the crack, seeing it as a new and exciting challenge.

Common inquiries

Is the Yosemite crack a new phenomenon?

The appearance of the Yosemite crack is indeed a relatively new phenomenon. It was first discovered in late September 2017, much to the surprise of climbers and geologists alike. While mountainous regions are constantly evolving due to geological processes like erosion and weathering, the emergence of such a massive crevice in such a short time span is somewhat rare. This has presented both challenges in terms of safety and exciting opportunities for scientific research and exploration.

How dangerous is climbing on El Capitan now that the crack has appeared? 

The appearance of the crack on El Capitan has indeed increased the inherent risks associated with climbing this iconic rock formation. As the crack continues to expand, it creates instability within the granite cliffs, increasing the likelihood of rockfalls. These rockfalls can pose a significant threat to climbers, especially those who are directly below or in the vicinity of the unstable area. Furthermore, anyone attempting to climb the new route created by the crack should be extremely experienced and take extra precautions due to the unpredictable nature of the crevice. It is always recommended that climbers stay updated with information from park authorities regarding the condition and safety of climbing routes.

What safety precautions should I consider when going to Yosemite and passing by El Capitan?

When visiting Yosemite and passing by El Capitan, it is paramount to prioritize safety, especially in light of the recent crack. Before venturing out, ensure you are informed about the latest updates on trail and road conditions from park authorities. Adhere strictly to marked trails and avoid venturing towards the crack or unstable areas. Helmets are recommended for climbers to protect against potential rockfall, and climbing gear should be checked for its adequacy and condition. Additionally, ensure you have packed ample water, food, and first-aid supplies. It’s also wise to inform someone about your travel plans and expected return, just in case of emergencies. As always, respect the park rules and regulations to ensure your safety and that of others.

yosemite's crack


The Yosemite crack is a fascinating and significant development in the history of El Capitan and Yosemite National Park. While it’s caused some concern among climbers and local authorities, it’s also provided a unique opportunity for scientists to learn more about the geology of the mountain. Whether you’re a climber, hiker, or just an admirer of nature, the Yosemite crack is a captivating glimpse into the constantly changing landscape of one of the most iconic national parks in the US.

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