Sequoia National Park

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How does water move through Sequoia National Park?

Sequoia National Park has over 3200 lakes and 2600 miles of moving water (rivers, streams, other noticeable moving water) Sequoia holds every type of reservoir. Rivers King, Kaweah, and Kern (or the three rivers) are very important large rivers that run throughout the park and flow into Kaweah Lake. The Sierra Nevada runs through Sequoia and collects large amounts of precipitation during the winter months. During spring months the land below the park receives meltoff from the elevated areas. During the Plio-Pleistocene time period, glaciers were significantly created and are viewed often today.

Through my knowledge of the water cycle, I know that water is constantly being reused and when I researched Sequoia’s water use, I learned about the meltoff specifically that runs off the mountain to rivers which flow into lakes and larger bodies of water, then is reused when traveling throughout the rest of the water cycle. The Glaciers melt every spring/summer and “grow” in the winter. When the glaciers melt they create runoff and that either infiltrates, evaporates, or flows into a larger body of water.

What effects does water have on the land?

One important landform, Moro Rock, is a large igneous rock structure that is near Moro Lake. Moro Lake is a large piece of evidence of how Moro Rock was formed. The water of Moro lake has moved and within the time that it moved, It weathered away at the sides of the rock and created the large vertical rock structure that can be visited today. Also, there are multiple rivers that run into Moro lake. Over time water may have changed it’s path and made it travel in a straighter line because that is a common characteristic of rivers and other moving/flowing reservoirs.

Sequoia National Park also has a variety of caves. Caves are formed by groundwater flowing through an opening in the rock. The caves are made of dissolved marble, a very dense igneous rock that water has managed to weather through and erode. Sequoia has nearly 240 caves and more are yet to be found.

Kern River is made of only precipitation and snow melt but over time it has become 164 miles long through weathering and erosion. The bed and banks of Kern River are made of sedimentary rock and the freshwater that the reservoir contains, is constantly weathering and carrying sediment to a different location.

The large Sequoia trees prevent erosion and also cause it. Sequoia roots can prevent erosion by keeping a grip on the rock but their strong structures can also break through rock when in search of a water source.

Kings Canyon is connected to Sequoia National Park and it’s large canyon has moving water that travels through it, which has weathered and eroded down to the canyon it is now.

How does the rock interact with water to shape the land?

Sequoia national park consists of mostly igneous rocks because of the sierra Nevada. Mountains are typically made of igneous rocks because the tectonic plates force the ground below the surface upwards and below the Earth’s crust is intrusive igneous rocks like granite and marble.

Moro Rock is an important igneous rock that was formed from an original mountain landscape but has eroded to the vertical rock it is now. Kings Canyon is made of intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks. Sedimentary rocks that have been weathered by gravity can be seen below tall cliffs at impressive heights. Glaciers weather the mountain range with their meltoff and the rivers or streams that are created from them.

To be specific, Sequoia has a combination of different types of igneous rocks. Dissolved marble can be found in many of the 240 caves, and monazite, diorite, granite and other igneous rocks and minerals are more commonly found laying out among the land or enclosed within the mountains or important landforms.