Rockfall Kills Two Individuals In Yosemite National Park

Rockfall Kills Two Individuals In Yosemite National Park

National Parks

Rockfall Kills Two Individuals In Yosemite National Park

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2 individuals died on Tuesday, December 27, due to a rockfall near one of Yosemite National Park‘s entrances on Highway 140, according to Fox 26. According to the park’s twitter page, El Portal road, where the incident occurred, was closed for around four hours following the landslide, though no mention of the victims was made. As of now, that is all of the information currently available relating to the the incident. Our thoughts are with the victim’s families and friends.

According to Yosemite’s website, 47 rockfalls were documented through 2021, taking up about 1,570 cubic meters total. The largest was an approximately 1,000 cubic meter slab falling from El Capitan’s west face, likely occurring during a large rain storm (the event itself was not observed). The second largest fall of 2021, a 55 cubic meter rock fall, also occurred on El Capitan.

Though it may seem like something that could never happen to you, it’s important to understand the nature of rockslides if you intend to be in steep mountainous areas. The following is Yosemite National Park’s tips to keep yourself safe in the event of a rockslide.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Rockfall hazard zones occur throughout the park near any cliff faces. If you witness a rockfall from the Valley floor, quickly move away from the cliff toward the center of the Valley. If you are near the base of a cliff or talus slope when a rockfall occurs above, immediately seek shelter behind the largest nearby boulder. After rocks have stopped falling, move quickly away from the cliff toward the center of the Valley. Be aware that rockfalls are inherently unpredictable and may happen at any time. Pay attention to warning signs, stay off of closed trails, and, if unsure, keep away from the cliffs.
  • Inform park staff if you witness a rockfall. If you witness or hear a rockfall of any size, please report it by calling 209/379-1420 or reporting it at one of the park Visitor Centers. This information is useful for assessing rockfall hazards and adds to the growing knowledge base of rockfall activity in the park.
  • Understand this dynamic natural process. Remember that Yosemite is a wild place. Rockfall is the most powerful geologic agent acting today in Yosemite. The dramatic cliffs of Yosemite are constantly being shaped by this potent natural force.

Image Credit: Yosemite National Park via Instagram

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