Saturday, August 30, 2014

Death Valley's Moving Rocks Slide on Ice

Two scientists researching the mystery of Death Valley's moving rocks say they have discovered the secret: Light winds blow the rocks on sheets of ice left by rare rainfalls.

For years, scientists and armchair investigators have wondered how rocks in Death Valley (located in the US states of Nevada and California) moved across the desert, seemingly of their own accord, leaving zig-zagging trails in the sands.

After receiving permission from park officials, two scientists setup cameras to film the rocks. After nights of sub-freezing temperatures, they determined that rare rainfalls left ice sheets on the desert floor and light winds blew the rocks - some weighing hundreds of pounds - across the muddy desert floor. Because rains are rare in the region, the phenomenon is as well.

The question remains as to why this phenomenon seems localized to Death Valley National Park.

The Weirding, 2014

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