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4,000-ton rock slide across Highway 140 closes entrance to Yosemite National Park

4,000-ton rock slide across Highway 140 closes entrance to Yosemite National Park
A massive rockslide occurred about El Portal Road, closing a major access to El Portal Road. (National Park Service)

A 4,000-ton rock slide has forced the closure of a main highway leading to Yosemite National Park.

Park officials said El Portal Road and the Arch Rock Entrance on Highway 140 will remain closed through the weekend. It is unclear when the road will reopen.

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The massive rock slide was reported about noon Monday from the "Parkline Slab" cliff, about a mile east of the park's boundary on Highway 140, according to Yosemite National Park.

The rocks detached from a point halfway up the cliff and slid down 600 feet. After the rock slide struck a ledge and the base of the cliff, it broke into pieces.

Rock fragments were blown out over an area more than 1,000 feet wide. About a third of the material piled onto El Portal Road, burying it under 15 to 20 feet of rock. At least one of the boulders that fell on the roadway was estimated to weigh 130 tons.

The rock slide also entered the Merced River.

Park officials are still assessing how they will remove the material and repair the roadway.

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