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America”s iconic natural landmarks mapped in 3D

US: Professor of geology, Allen Glazner, at the University of North Carolina has gathered data for the first-ever high-resolution geologic map of El Capitan, one of America”s most iconic natural landmarks and a jewel in the crown of Yosemite National Park in central California. The work was supported by the National Geographic Society.

“This map of El Capitan is the only map with this kind of detail on a 3,000-foot (900-meter) tall cliff anywhere,” Glazner said about the project”s outcome.

The new geologic map of El Capitan”s southeast face will be published soon in a scientific journal. Researchers in Switzerland are already using it to better understand rockfalls, which have killed more than a dozen people in Yosemite.

In the past few years, Glazner and his students had begun to map the complex pattern of joints and different igneous rock types that make up El Capitan, but they had done so only on the bottom and the top of the cliff face, where they could access the rocks without the difficulty of technical climbing.

To get a more complete and detailed picture, Putnam spent six weeks doing fieldwork on El Capitan, in May and June of last year. During that time he climbed the entire face three times and rappelled all the way down twice. He also climbed numerous shorter routes, always working with an experienced climber as partner.

Source: National Geographic