YOSEMITE VALLEY, Calif. -- For thousands of years, slabs of the Glacier Point cliff have broken loose, roared down at more than 100 mph and blasted the forest in nature's version of bunker bombs.
Such rockfalls are triggered by earthquakes, large storms or freezing and thawing of water in granite joints. But are these frightening events also somehow connected to the toilets at the Glacier Point overlook above the sheer cliff? Did water from the septic system drain into the cliff face and cause a 1999 rockfall that killed a climber?
One geologist thinks so. His views have been disputed by government agencies and challenged by other geologists. But this wastewater theory also is touted as possible proof of negligence in a lawsuit against the National Park Service over the death nine years ago of Peter Terbush, 21, of Gunnison, Colo.
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