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Yosemite in Winter

Earth photo of the week, Jan 30, 2011

By Philip L. Dombrowski

This photo shows Yosemite National Park as viewed from a park webcam in mid-January (2011).

You can check out this webcam at different times of day and in different seasons to see the changes in lighting and shadowing on El Capitan, the great granitic monolith at left, and on Half Dome at center, one of the world’s most recognizable rock formations.

Yosemite Park is an enormous batholith that was exposed and partially sculpted during several past glacial episodes.

Contrary to popular opinion, Half Dome (4,737 ft or 1,444 m above the valley floor) was not carved in half by glaciers. Its shape is actually not too different from what it was soon after it formed over 80 million years ago.

El Capitan’s nearly vertical face is a favorite challenge for experienced rock climbers. At 3,000 feet, it stands sentinel over northern Yosemite Valley.