New Study Says We’ve Had Yosemite National Park Pegged Wrong All Along

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the country. However, Yosemite National Park is previously thought to have some incredibly ancient roots. Previously, geologists commonly placed the formation of its iconic peaks and rock walls to about 50 million years ago. However, thanks to a new method of studying rock formations, geologists have found those estimations to be drastically wrong. Instead, they now place the park’s formation as little as five to 10 million years ago.

According to The Weather Channel, the new findings come courtesy of the Geological Society of America Bulletin. The outlet’s meteorologist, Domenica Davis, states the new findings have “to do with how hot the bedrock got as it was pushed up from deep inside the earth.”

Essentially, Yosemite National Park’s “temperature history” allowed geologists to better piece together the chronology of the peaks’ formations.

Overall, the findings are extremely new. Still, their accuracy has Yosemite National Park incorporating the numbers into new editions of visitor education materials. Like Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite sees millions of tourists annually. But, with this new information bringing the iconic park to headlines, Yosemite’s sure to see a jump in visitors soon.

Yosemite National Park Potentially Lighting Prescribed Burns Amid Ongoing Wildfires

Yosemite National Park is one of many parks across the American West that face wildfire threats each year. However, Yosemite is especially prone as it resides in California, where these blazes frequently occur. With climate change further intensifying these annual burns, the parks’ natural residents face the same threats people do. Therefore, it’s important for fire crews to get a handle on them before they even begin. As such, Yosemite National Park is considering lighting prescribed burns. These intentionally set fires are intended to get rid of natural fuel upon which wildfires depend.

Late last week, the Pacific Northwest welcomed ashore a damp storm system. The storm system, while more intense than we’ve seen recently, is desperately needed. Areas seeing precipitation now haven’t seen significant rainfall in months. With that weather cycling across much of the nation, officials with the National Park Service began getting ready to light a prescribed burn on Sunday, October 23rd.

With multiple wildfires still burning across the state, it might sound odd to purposely light another. However, prescribed burns, like the one recently considered at Yosemite National Park, are important. They scorch natural fuels like dead vegetation and dry undergrowth.

In addition, prescribed burns actually aid in keeping forests healthy, as, without them, they become overgrown, with the struggle for sustenance increasingly difficult. The burns help clear out the forest canopy which then allows sunlight to reach the low-lying vegetation within, promoting new growth and healthier food sources for wildlife.

The National Park Service said in a news release last week that prescribed burns at the park would take place along Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley.