Mechanism of exfoliation joint formation in granitic rocks, Yosemite National Park

Dov Bahat, Ken Grossenbacher, Kenzi Karasaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fractographic techniques reveal mechanical aspects of exfoliation in granitic rocks at Yosemite National Park, and electronic surveying provides information on their attitudes and dimensions. In the middle elevations of the cliff of El Capitan, exfoliation consists of early fractures a few meters to tens of meters in size which are fan-shaped. Fans at upper elevations point upwards, whereas fans at lower elevations point downwards parallel to the cliff. The fans interact with each other and merge into composite joints hundreds of meters in size, normal to the minimum compressive principal stress. This polarity indicates exfoliation by longitudinal splitting and buckling. The palaeostress causing the exfoliation on the southwestern side of Half Dome is estimated to range between 0.01 MPa and 0.94 MPa. Differences in fracture paleostresses of joints may be used in comparing their relative propagation velocities. It is suggested that the large exfoliation on the southwestern side of Half Dome had undergone a prolonged sub-critical growth before attaining rapid fracture velocities under post-critical conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanism of exfoliation joint formation in granitic rocks, Yosemite National Park'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this