Painting Yosemite Valley: A case study of rock coatings encountered at half dome

Phillip Larson, Ronald Dorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

No prior research has documented the different types of rock coatings in Yosemite Valley, despite the evident black streaks down Yosemite Falls, the light granitic rock exposed by recent rock falls contrasting with dark rock coatings, and the millions of visitors who have photographed the coated rocks of Yosemite. This paper identifies the types of rock coatings found on Half Dome, in Yosemite Valley, assesses the hypothesis that the rock coatings of Yosemite are consistent with the landscape geochemical model of rock coating formation, and considers the relevance of equifinality. Eight types of rock coatings were identified: case-hardened surfaces, heavy metal skins, iron films, lithobiontic coatings, oxalate crusts, manganiferous rock varnish, silica glaze, and anthropogenic pigments. The landscape geochemical model of rock coating formation and the concept of equifinality both proved useful in this investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-182
Number of pages18
JournalPhysical Geography
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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