• Rainbow over Half Dome


    National Park California

Mather Musings: What's Under Foot?

July 15, 2012 Posted by: AS - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

What's Under Foot?
Many interesting geologic features may be found in the High Country of Yosemite. Glaciers have shaped and sculpted the granite and other rock types of this area in many different ways. There are five main minerals found in the granite of Yosemite. These are potassium feldspar, Plagioclase feldspar, quartz, biotite and hornblende. In general, quartz and both feldspars appear whitish to light grey, while hornblende and biotite appear much darker.  Can you find these different minerals in a piece of granite?  Sometimes larger crystals are formed in a piece of granite, depending on how quickly it cooled when being formed.  Slowly cooled minerals develop larger crystals, while more quickly cooled minerals form smaller sized crystals. Be aware….learning more about the rocks under our feet may lead to lots more questions.

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Did You Know?

Peaks in Huangshan

Yosemite and Huangshan are sister parks. Huangshan, which protects over 77 magnificent granite peaks 3,000 feet (1,000 m) or higher, is one of China's most famous and sacred scenic areas. Countless poems and writings dating back 2,200 years attest to its beauty. More...