Mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks solved

  • August 28, 2014

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — For years scientists have theorized about how large rocks — some weighing hundreds of pounds — zigzag across Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park, leaving long trails etched in the earth.

Now two researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography have photographed these “sailing rocks” being blown by light winds across the former lake bed.

Cousins Richard Norris and James Norris say the movement is made possible when ice sheets that form after rare overnight rains melt in the rising sun, making the hard ground muddy and slick.

The phenomenon doesn’t happen often because it rarely rains in the notoriously dry desert valley.

Their report says the rocks move very slowly — only about 15 feet per minute.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Obama: No credible intelligence about plot against US

Shooting by officer in West Virginia investigated

Chicago officer who shot teen had 18 complaints

U.N. weather agency: It’s record hot out there this year

19 people ill in E. coli linked to Costco chicken salad

Grandson of former Michigan coach dies

Excerpts from emails between Coke, anti-obesity group released

Obama, Hollande pledge solidarity against ISIS

Clintons collected $35M from financial businesses since 2001

Youngest U.S. chess master, 10, says more work to be done