Saturday, March 25, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Death Valley's sailing stones mystery solved


Posted on Thursday, 28 August, 2014 | Comment icon 27 comments

One of Death Valley's mysterious sailing stones. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Pirate Scott
A team of researchers has finally managed to explain how such large boulders can move all by themselves.
The phenomenon, which was discovered in the 1940s, pertains to the inexplicable movement of extremely heavy boulders across a dry lake bed situated in Death Valley National Park.

Nobody has ever seen the boulders move directly but long trails left behind them in the sand seem to suggest that they have somehow traversed significant distances all by themselves. Some of the rocks that have shifted even weigh upwards of 320kg.

In an effort to solve the mystery once and for all a team of scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography visited the site in 2011 and set up a high-resolution weather station and 15 rocks fitted with GPS devices to measure even the slightest movements with impeccable accuracy.

It would take a further two years for anything to happen, but eventually during a visit to the site in December 2013 the team discovered that the area had been submerged in 3 inches of water.

As it turned out the movement of the rocks occurs under a very specific set of circumstances that requires there to be just enough water to cover the ground but not enough to submerge the rocks. The actual movement occurs due to a combination of strong winds, the freezing of the water during the night and the thawing of the ice by the hot sun during the day.

"It's possible that tourists have actually seen this happening without realising it," said co-author Jim Norris. "It is really tough to gauge that a rock is in motion if all the rocks around it are also moving."

Source: Scripps | Comments (27)

Tags: Death Valley, Sailing Stones


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #18 Posted by shrooma on 29 August, 2014, 8:03
now you know how the pyramids were built..... . (aliens with freeze guns.) .
Comment icon #19 Posted by Ashyne on 29 August, 2014, 9:47
now you know how the pyramids were built..... . (aliens with freeze guns.) . No. The pyramids were built when Godzilla needed to have a place big enough to lay its eggs.
Comment icon #20 Posted by taniwha on 29 August, 2014, 15:03
The ice drags them like a sail on a sailboat. Since the rocks don't really leave the ground they leave a trail. I think the wind pushes the ice which in turn push the rocks.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Shayde on 29 August, 2014, 17:37
Hang about... Wasn't the above theory about how the stones were moving made public a while back now? So it's not really a great breakthrough in knowing how this is done, but merely a rehash of the explantion. Or in other words, researchers have just not made a great new discovery, but just used an old one and possibly spent a bit of cash from grants doing so!
Comment icon #22 Posted by bigjonalien on 30 August, 2014, 2:09
old news!
Comment icon #23 Posted by SD455GTO on 30 August, 2014, 15:23
Yes, read about this a year or two ago.
Comment icon #24 Posted by DieChecker on 30 August, 2014, 15:43
A couple years ago was the Theory, this article is the Proof. Video made showing that it does happen.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Saitung on 30 August, 2014, 21:59
I could have sworn I saw a documentary on this a few years ago. Just checked Captain Kirk narrates the documentary as well. You did, this is VERY old news, LOL.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Codenwarra on 2 September, 2014, 10:54
Even if the Scripps team have produced a full explanation of this, this phenomenon will continue to be promoted by cheap media as totally unexplained. Then some will complain that science has not investigated and some will complain that money was spent on an investigation.
Comment icon #27 Posted by Capt Amerika on 10 September, 2014, 16:32
I remember this documentary. It showed how the stones were capable of moving something as large as a Pirate Ship across the desert. I think Johnny Depp was part of the cast.


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

5870350
252345
166344

 
Hair salon is offering snake neck massages
3-25-2017
The Haar Mode Team salon in Dresden is offering customers a rather unique type of massage service.
'Ghost' causes a stir aboard USS Lexington
3-25-2017
Visitors to a popular attraction in Corpus Christi, Texas came across something they did not expect.
Permian mass extinction 'could happen again'
3-25-2017
A catastrophic rise in temperature wiped out the vast majority of life on Earth 250 million years ago.
'Mystery gardener' plants trees after dark
3-24-2017
An unknown individual in Stevenage, UK has been planting trees on a town green under cover of darkness.
Featured book
 
By Guy Lyon Playfair
A look at the story of Peggy Hodgson and her four children who, between 1977 and 1979, were at the center of one of the most terrifying poltergeist cases ever documented.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
ALMA's 100-ton antennas
Posted 3-25-2017 | 0 comments
A special vehicle is used to carry ALMA's ultra-heavy antennas in to place in the desert.
 
How do we find lost satellites ?
Posted 3-24-2017 | 0 comments
A look at the methods scientists use to locate spacecraft with which contact has been lost.
 
Searching for Japanese bats
Posted 3-23-2017 | 0 comments
The Rimizu limestone caves in Japan are an ideal place to look for hibernating bats.
 
ISS astronauts answer questions
Posted 3-22-2017 | 0 comments
Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson discuss life in space and what they've been up to.
 
World's largest surfed wave
Posted 3-21-2017 | 1 comment
Extreme waterman Garrett McNamara surfed this 78ft wave in Portugal back in 2011.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
My nightly occurrences
2-28-2017 | Manchester, UK
 
Saved by a stranger
2-7-2017 | Green River Wyoming
 
Spooky sense
2-4-2017 | India
 
Ghost car
2-4-2017 | Chicago, IL, USA
 
Mysterious powder
2-4-2017 | USA, North Carolina
 
Puerto Rico UFO sighting
2-4-2017 | Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico
 
Phantom vehicle
1-6-2017 | Ramer, United States
 
True ghost stories
1-6-2017 | Southern California
 
Floating tiles
1-6-2017 | Chewelah, Washington
 
A haunting in Northern California
12-28-2016 | Northern California
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com © 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ