A geologic mystery solved! – The sailing stones

When you write about geology you inevitably come across a couple mysteries that are just unsolved.

In the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley they have many names for this phenomenon.

  • Racing Rocks
  • Sailing Stones
  • Wandering Stone
  • Moving Stones

In the end they were just as puzzling. These rocks were moving without any apparent force moving them. The theories surrounding them were manifold. They included hurricane strength winds blowing and other violent forces that move these rocks.

So geologists did what they do. When you work with rocks you sometimes have to think up the most ridiculous and/or boring experiments. Fitting rocks with GPS and setting them out in the desert is definitely high on the list. However, it did result in time-lapse footage of the rocks moving. It will definitely not what you would expect in a desert.


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... is a geophysicist by heart. I work in seismic interpolation. My interest extend to data security, software engineering, geology and science comm. After work I love to go rock climbing and lift some heavy weights. In the evening I endulge in board games with friends and my wonderful partner. The Way of the geophysicist.
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