El Capitan Geologic Mapping Project


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Big Wall climber
Temporarily Chapel Hill
Apr 27, 2012 - 08:41am PT
Early morning (for you west coasters) bump for geology!

This is Roger Putnam, the masterís student who is working with Minerals, Dr. Allen Glazner (UNC Chapel Hill) and Dr. Greg Stock (NPS). I just wanted to make a few contributions to Bryanís spectacular post about the project.

With help from Bryan, Dr. Glazner and Dr. Stock, I have been working on synthesizing the high resolution photography of the SE face with Tom Evans photos and LiDAR data. We are beginning to get a rough map of the whole face that I have posted below. This map is VERY rough and includes many grey areas (places where we cannot see the contacts because of limitations in the quality of imagery available) and other errors. I am just posting it to give everyone an ROUGH idea of what the final product of this study will look like!

I will be in the valley from May 19th through July 8th to try to get this project done. During this time, Iím VERY excited to talk about this project with anyone who is interested and give scale bars to any climbers planning to climb routes for which we do not have any scale photographs yet. The routes that we already have are listed below:

Lurking Fear
Triple Direct
NA Wall
PO Wall
Tangerine Trip
East Buttress

IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON CLIMBING ANYTHING NOT ON THIS LIST, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME! Areas we are particularly interested include NA wall Ė Tangerine Trip and anything east of Zodiac.

We hope that YOU can help contribute to the understanding of the big stone that we love so much!

My e-mail is rputnam@live.unc.edu
My phone number is 508-776-7609

Thank you so much,
Roger Putnam
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 27, 2012 - 09:10am PT
This is such an excellent thread. It is actually so good it has to be somehow made a reference source on Supertopo, like a new tab created for "Geology" or similar. It is very very valuable and after half a century of modern climbing, elucidates what all the variety is about up on El Cap. Up till now we were just staring and enjoying what seemed random, as if it didn't have a story too and was just visual poetry. Amazing thread, thanks so much.

Trad climber
Apr 27, 2012 - 09:14am PT
Hi Roger,

We'll be there some time around Mat 8th. Not sure what route we are planning on though. Thinking Mescalito, which you have. But plabns do change... If on something else, I'd love to give a hand.


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 27, 2012 - 09:16am PT
What a cool project!

It's for science, Mouse.

Kennewick wa
Apr 27, 2012 - 09:22am PT
WOW do you geologist have too much time on your hands.

Apr 27, 2012 - 09:25am PT
NICE! Go for it guys. I'm a geology phd student who has done a few el cap routes -- so I'm totally stoked to see what you all find!

Gym climber
the secret topout on the Chockstone Chimney
Apr 27, 2012 - 09:55am PT
Nice work Roger! study hard.

Mountain climber
Apr 27, 2012 - 10:23am PT
What's the Lost Arrow made of ? Do you want pctures of it ?

Trad climber
Washington DC
Apr 27, 2012 - 10:32am PT
Geeze being a Geologist by education and a Valley climber by heart...This is the coolest post I have ever seen on ST!

Thanks a bunch,


Social climber
Apr 27, 2012 - 10:34am PT
Have mercy.

WOW do you geologist have too much time on your hands.

What do you think geologists do?

Big Wall climber
Temporarily Chapel Hill
Apr 27, 2012 - 10:35am PT

Bryan can correct me if I am wrong (he has done a lot of climbing up there), but according to F. Calkins' 1985 geologic map of Yosemite Valley, Lost Arrow is made primarily of El Capitan granite with some possible Sentinel Granodiorite. However, given our general lack of understanding of what is exposed on the cliffs of Yosemite Valley, it probably is far more complex.

A map of that area is beyond the scope of this project (anyone else want a master's thesis??!). Thank you so much for your interest! PM me!

Trad climber
the green triangle, cali
Apr 27, 2012 - 11:24am PT
+4 bump. interesting, on topic, educational, +realmccoybonuspoint.

Big Wall climber
Temporarily Chapel Hill
Apr 27, 2012 - 11:58am PT
Bump... To give a real geology thread more posts than the pseudogeology "slot canyon" thread!!

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Apr 27, 2012 - 01:20pm PT
This is one of the coolest threads in a long time! It's so gneiss, don't take it for granite! (I know, old bad jokes)

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 27, 2012 - 01:50pm PT
Yeah this thread's the Schist!
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Apr 27, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
that's some stony sh#t...

Apr 27, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
This is one of the coolest things ever. Vertical jaking of El Cap!! Very near and dear, as I'm about to graduate with a degree in geology. Buried in schoolwork right now, but I'd love to help eventually!

Apr 27, 2012 - 03:04pm PT
...super psyched to see what kind of interpretations you guys will be able to make once complete...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 27, 2012 - 03:59pm PT
Looks cool.

How about scanning your GSA photo scale to a PDF, so people can just print it out, then fill in the route / belay number for each photo?
Tom could even have a small stack for distribution....

Yosemite Valley
Apr 27, 2012 - 04:02pm PT
Thanks for the positive feedback everyone. This is obviously a fun project for us to work on, but it may yield some real insights. It's not often that geologists get to examine a few square kilometers of perfectly clean granite in three dimensions, especially the vertical dimension.

Don't despair, DosXX, we are also mapping geologic structures, but not so much on the wall as by remote sensing techniques such as terrestrial laser scanning (lidar) data. There are several softwares available that allow us to map geologic structures in three dimensions with lidar data. However, it seems the lidar data can also help us map the geology - check out the obvious contacts in the image below, which are apparent due to the different reflectivities of the rock types.


(Roger, you can dispense with the "Dr." ;)

Messages 21 - 40 of total 101 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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