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Parts of California's scenic Yosemite National Park will close for good after geologists confirmed that tourists and employees are in danger from possible giant falling boulders from Glacier Point. Eighteen cabins will be closed in historic Curry Village, where in 2008 the equivalent of 570 dump trucks of boulders hit 17 cabins, flattened one and sent schoolchildren scrambling for their lives as enormous rocks rained down from the 3,000 feet high peak. 'There are no absolutely safe areas in Yosemite Valley,' said Greg Stock, the park's staff geologist and author of a new study that assesses the potential risk to people from falling rocks in the iconic valley.
A newly delineated 'hazard zone' also outlines other areas, including the popular climbing wall El Capitan, where the danger posed by the rock falls is high but risk of injury is low because they aren't continuously occupied.
'Rock falls are common in Yosemite Valley, California, posing substantial hazard and risk to the approximately four million annual visitors to Yosemite National Park,' reads the ominous opening line of the report.
This new study, prompted by the 2008 Curry event, is the first to assess risk to people. Officials say dangers exist in nearly every national park but they are particularly acute in Yosemite given its unstable geology, which causes rock falls weekly. Park officials will use the study to develop policy that guides future planning. Yosemite Valley is ringed by 3,000-foot walls of granite.