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The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

Posted in Pictures   23 Oct 2009   / 37007 views

I’m gonna quote Wikipedia, because I couldn’t do better myself, so here it goes:
The sailing stones (sliding rocks, moving rocks) are a geological phenomenon where rocks move in long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. They have been recorded and studied in a number of places around Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, where the number and length of travel grooves are notable. The force behind their movement is not understood and is subject to research.

1 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

2 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

3 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

4 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

5 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

6 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Racetrack stones only move every two or three years and most tracks develop over three or four years. Stones with rough bottoms leave straight striated tracks while those with smooth bottoms wander. Stones sometimes turn over, exposing another edge to the ground and leaving a different track in the stone's wake.

7 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

8 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

9 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

10 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

11 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

12 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Sliding rock trails fluctuate in direction and length. Some rocks which start next to each other start out traveling parallel, but one may abruptly change direction to the left, right, or even back the direction it came from. Length also varies because two similarly sized and shaped rocks could travel uniformly, then one could burst ahead or stop dead in its track.

13 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

14 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

15 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

16 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

17 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Speed is an unknown variable. Since these stones are rarely transported and nobody has witnessed the movement, the speeds the rocks travel at are not known.

18 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

19 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

20 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

21 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

22 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Geologists Jim McAllister and Allen Agnew mapped the bedrock of the area in 1948 and made note of the tracks. Naturalists from the National Park Service later wrote more detailed descriptions and Life magazine featured a set of photographs from The Racetrack. Speculation about how the stones may move started at this time. Various explanations have been put forward over the years that have ranged from the supernatural to the very complex.

23 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

24 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

25 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

26 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

27 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

28 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Most hypotheses favored by interested geologists posit that strong winds when the mud is wet are at least in part responsible. Some stones weigh as much as a human, which some researchers, such as geologist George M. Stanley, feel is too heavy for the area's wind to move. They maintain that ice sheets around the stones either help to catch the wind or move in ice floes.

29 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

30 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

31 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

32 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

33 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Researches studied some stones for several years. Ten of the initial twenty-five stones moved in the first winter with Mary Ann (stone A) covering the longest distance at 212 feet (64.5 m). Two of the next six monitored winters also saw multiple stones move. No stones were confirmed to have moved in the summer and some winters none or only a few stones moved. In the end all but two of the thirty monitored stones moved during the seven year study. At 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter Nancy (stone H) was the smallest monitored stone. It also moved the longest cumulative distance, 860 feet (262 m), and the greatest single winter movement, 659 feet (201 m). The largest stone to move was 80 pounds (36 kg).

34 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

35 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

36 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

37 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

38 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

39 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Karen (stone J) is a 29 by 19 by 20 inch (74 by 48 by 51 cm) block of dolomite and weighs an estimated 700 pounds (about 320 kg). Perhaps not surprisingly Karen didn't move during the monitoring period. The stone may have created its 570 straight and old track from momentum gained from its initial fall onto the wet playa.

40 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

41 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

42 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

43 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

44 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

45 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

46 The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)


Wind and ice both are the favored hypothesis for these mysterious sliding rocks. But as those are only hypothesises, we can say that the mystery remains...






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Comments (25):

0
1.
nat 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
Wicked
       
lolipop                    show commment
0
3.
pila24 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
video please...
       
0
4.
superba 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
I LIKE THIS KIND OF POST!!!! IS VERY INTERESTING clapping
       
0
5.
sensijoe 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
makes you wonder - is a Rock, just a Rock?
       
0
6.
ANONYMOUS 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
It's not a mystery. This so called "phenomenon" is caused by unrelenting, very strong wind. Wikipedia is not a credible source of information. Try reading National Geographic sometime!
       
0
7.
severe_009 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
Wow now thats interesting n_tongue
Challenge breeds excellence...
       
0
8.
RedLink 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
clapping wow, that was very interesting
       
0
9.
Bhas 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
"How does it feel, To be on your own, With no direction home,
a complete unknown, Like a rolling stone!!!"
-Bob Dylan.

Ahh!!
This Is Insane!
Kinda Reminds Me of That Episode in Spongebob.
When Patrick Uses A Rock In A Snail Race! sarcastic '

Very Interesting.
       
0
10.
Ceej 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
damn alien teenagers, getting drunk on moonbeam liquor and using their powers on desert rocks!!
       
SuperMilow                    show commment
0
12.
Pikaczu 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
mr47_04 mr47_04 mr47_04 mr47_04 Do Dziobaaa.! <3
       
0
13.
sooniq553 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
I know! Those rocks are parts of terminator which try to connect each other :)
       
0
14.
Me007 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
It's interesting, that the ground on all photos is the same (small stones), isn't it?
In my opinion it is a mistification OR - photoshop :-)
       
0
15.
Abledorf 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
In Canada we have stones that move caused by freeze thaw cycles, could this happen there?
       
0
16.
plusz 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
stones probably slide when wind is very strong, on mornin minimal layer of dew (yes, even in DV)
       
0
17.
Jabo 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
To mi wygląda na meteoryty...
       
0
18.
Hoffa 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
By my first view and self explanation i belive it has to do with the ground bed there, as seen on some pictures it has some sort of humidity in it and if they move only only once every few years then my thoughts are that, that country its in a emisferic part of terra where the global rotation is felt ... more... then in other places. For exemple a 365 days rotation could cause a "S" curve of the stone sliding over the sand bed where a straight like could be made ofcourse by the wind and such. How ? ive said about humidity, its like you put a cube of ice on the table and try to push it it will only slide because of the water like between the cube itself and the table not otherwise... so happends with the stone. Then again, my simple deduction.

like = line (sorry, its 4am)
       
0
19.
JVR 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
So, a rock can actually be a pet! freaking awesome! elvis
       
0
20.
ckijora 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
No mystery, they are called playa scrapers, their action is understood and gosh but I'm so surprised that you couldn't find any useful information on that mighty tome the Wikipedia. Be serious, pick up a book.
       
0
21.
dante 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
PET ROCKS!!! XD
       
0
22.
mominco 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
don't camp out there
       
0
23.
Tojo 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
Looking for a date, lol
       
0
24.
denmark 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
wicked rock!!!cool! 27
       
0
25.
raeven 7 year s ago MARK AS SPAM
41 41 41
Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.

http://raeven.inutilz.com
       














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