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The Sailing Stones of Death Valley

The Sailing Stones of Death Valley

Death Valley hosts one of the most enigmatic geological phenomenon that has puzzled scientists for decades. In Racetrack Playa are the “sailing stones”, which seem to glide across the flat dry desert on their own, without human or animal intervention. Although no one has actually seen the stones in action, their movement is evident in the long tracks on the ground they left through the years.

These tracks have been under observation since the early 90’s, and scientists have found a reasonable amount of information, yet were still unable to explain the phenomenon.

Findings conclude that the stones move only every two to three years. The trails differ in direction and length, showing that each rock has its own unique behavior. The stones have also been observed to turn over from time to time, leaving a different trail pattern according to their bottom side texture.

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Recently, NASA scientist Ralph Lorenz put forward a hypothesis that best explains the curious phenomenon. According to him, certain winter conditions cause water to flood the valley floor while the rocks are embedded in blocks of ice. This way, the rocks would take the ice’s buoyancy and float in the water, leaving trail marks behind them as they moved.

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