Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own



  • Where?

In California, there is a national park named the stones of Death Valley National Park. They have been dazzling scientists all over the world for many decades. There are stones in this park which are known to move in the desert sand on their own and leave trails of tracks behind them on the sand.

Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own

  • The History behind the Death valley stones

These secret tracks were first found out in the 1900s and still the reason is still unrevealed. They move after some time intervals of about a year or two. Another astonishing thing is that the stones which have rough sides leave straight tracks, whereas the stones which have smooth bottoms tend to wander.
Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own
 
  • Trails of the stones

Sometimes the stones turn over by themselves and expose another edge to the ground, and we can observe different tracks. Trails also differ in directions as well as length, too. The rocks which are besides each other may travel parallel for some matter of time until one changes direction, or sometimes both of them get back to the direction from where they came from. The length of trails varies as per the size; even the same shaped and sized rocks may travel uniformly until others move ahead or stop on its track.
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Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own



There are many theories on the stones movements. Some scientists believe that there must be certain conditions required for the stones to move. There must be a thin layer of clay; a strong initiating force is also required, as well as strong and continuous wind to keep the stone moving.


Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own


  •  Answers by Science

In 1915, Joseph Crook investigated this act of stones for the first time. Afterwards, the first person to publish the report about these moving rocks in the America Bulletin at Geologic Society was Jim McAllister. The report was followed by a more detailed description of the phenomenon by the National Park Service in Life Magazine during the 1950s. 

Then, researchers and scientists from all across the world persisted and prompted to unravel and make thesis on this unusual and very comical phenomenon. But the lake of technological advancement was the reason in 19s for the secret to unravel.



Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own



  • Technology used for knowing the secret

In the 20s technological advancement found very useful to unravel this strange phenomenon. There is a great development seen in the field of videography and digitalization. So In 2009 Scientists used time lapse digital camera which had a very high memory capacity to capture the large amount of pictures of various stages of the movements of the rock in different time interval. Which led to the solution of the scientific reason about the movement of the rocks. 
Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own


  •  Still some answers are not found…

In the study which was published in 2011, the phenomenon was solved. It claimed that small rafts of the ice from around the rocks were found. So when the local water level rises, the rocks float because of the buoyancy; and the bed was really soft, which reduces the friction level between the surface and the bed. Yet the theory was not adequate as in the fact that this theory depends upon the reduced friction between the bed and the surface, not on the increasing of the drag force of the wind. The ice cakes described were not having a particularly large surface area. Even if the ice is adequately thick, which makes the friction minimal, it doesn’t allow the rock with arbitrarily light winds around.

Mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley that travel on their own

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