UNESCO World Heritage List
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of California. With its ‘hanging’ valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation. At 600–4,000 m, a great variety of flora and fauna can also be found here.
Statement of Significance
Yosemite National Park vividly illustrates the effects of glacial erosion of granitic bedrock, creating geologic features that are unique in the world. Repeated glaciations over millions of years have resulted in a concentration of distinctive landscape features, including soaring cliffs, domes, and free-falling waterfalls. There is exceptional glaciated topography, including the spectacular Yosemite Valley, a 914-meter (1/2 mile) deep, glacier-carved cleft with massive sheer granite walls. These geologic features provide a scenic backdrop for mountain meadows and giant sequoia groves, resulting in a diverse landscape of exceptional natural and scenic beauty.
Criterion (vii): Yosemite has exceptional natural beauty, including 5 of the world’s highest waterfalls, a combination of granite domes and walls, deeply incised valleys, three groves of giant sequoia, numerous alpine meadows, lakes, diversity of life zones and variety of species.
Criterion (viii): Glacial action combined with the granitic bedrock has produced unique and pronounced landform features including distinctive polished dome structures, as well as hanging valleys, tarns, moraines and U-shaped valleys. Granitic landforms such as Half Dome and the vertical walls of El Capitan are classic distinctive reflections of geologic history. No other area portrays the effects of glaciation on underlying granitic domes as well as Yosemite does.
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