The Mysterious Sailing Stones of Death Valley (46 pics)

Posted in PICTURES       23 Oct 2009       40383       25

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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25   Comments ?
0
1.
nat 10 year s ago
Wicked
       
0
2.
lolipop 10 year s ago
36
       
0
3.
pila24 10 year s ago
video please...
       
0
4.
superba 10 year s ago
I LIKE THIS KIND OF POST!!!! IS VERY INTERESTING clapping
       
0
5.
sensijoe 10 year s ago
makes you wonder - is a Rock, just a Rock?
       
0
6.
ANONYMOUS 10 year s ago
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 10 year s ago
Wow now thats interesting n_tongue
       
0
8.
RedLink 10 year s ago
clapping wow, that was very interesting
       
0
9.
Bhas 10 year s ago
"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 10 year s ago
damn alien teenagers, getting drunk on moonbeam liquor and using their powers on desert rocks!!
       
0
11.
SuperMilow 10 year s ago
wow
       
0
12.
Pikaczu 10 year s ago
mr47_04 mr47_04 mr47_04 mr47_04 Do Dziobaaa.! <3
       
0
13.
sooniq553 10 year s ago
I know! Those rocks are parts of terminator which try to connect each other :)
       
0
14.
Me007 10 year s ago
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 10 year s ago
In Canada we have stones that move caused by freeze thaw cycles, could this happen there?
       
0
16.
plusz 10 year s ago
stones probably slide when wind is very strong, on mornin minimal layer of dew (yes, even in DV)
       
0
17.
Jabo 10 year s ago
To mi wygląda na meteoryty...
       
0
18.
Hoffa 10 year s ago
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 10 year s ago
So, a rock can actually be a pet! freaking awesome! elvis
       
0
20.
ckijora 10 year s ago
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 10 year s ago
PET ROCKS!!! XD
       
0
22.
mominco 10 year s ago
don't camp out there
       
0
23.
Tojo 10 year s ago
Looking for a date, lol
       
0
24.
denmark 10 year s ago
wicked rock!!!cool! 27
       
0
25.
raeven 10 year s ago
41 41 41
       
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