Riley Finnegan

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Multimedia Digital Archive of Indian Rock Arch, Yosemite National Park

Riley Finnegan, Jeffrey R. Moore, Hector Banuelos, Layla Latu, Tobeb Mochimaru, and Aneasha Whittaker-Tademy

I’m a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah. I work with Dr. Jeff Moore, studying the ways ground and airborne vibrations caused by human activity impact rock arches and towers. I completed by undergraduate degree in physics at Westminster College and am grateful to have been able to stay in Utah for graduate school.

Recent collapses of notable rock arches around the world have highlighted the need to not only better understand the mechanics of these failures, but to also develop ways of documenting these culturally valuable landforms. Here, we created a digital archive of Indian Rock Arch, the only documented natural arch in Yosemite National Park, CA. We recorded the ambient vibrations of the arch for two hours using an array of three seismometers, and used ground-based photos to create a 3D photogrammetry model of the arch. We used these two datasets to understand the behavior of the arch, while also employing them as a multifaceted digital archive of the arch to be shared with park visitors, students, and the general public. Our project helps preserve the landscape around us, and has a wide application to other landforms and cultural sites.
We created a multimedia digital archive of Yosemite National Park’s only documented natural rock arch, Indian Rock Arch. Arches have lifetimes, and once collapsed, their previous forms are gone. We used specialized instruments to record the natural vibrations of the arch and made a 3D model of it using ground-based photos. We used our data to analyze the motion of the arch and combined them into an archive to share the arch with students, park visitors, and people around the world.
  • Listen to Riley describing her work: