Moving rocks in desert.

Mysterious Moving Rocks

Field review by the editors.

Death Valley National Park, California

In Death Valley there's a playa (a dried mudflat) two miles long named "The Racetrack." Rocks tumble onto its south end from adjacent mountains, settle into position, and then move by themselves across the table-top terrain, leaving visible trails in the dried mud. Some scientists claim that the rocks are moved by hurricane-force winds that sometimes sweep the playa after a rare rainfall -- but no one has ever seen this happen. Others say they move on thin sheets of rare winter ice. But some of these rocks weigh hundreds of pounds and move hundreds of feet, often taking sharp turns, leaving their tattletale trails as evidence.

We think that Mineral Intelligence is an area of science that deserves more scrutiny. And if the rocks really aren't that smart, maybe it's Spook Lights, taunting them to move.

Also see: Mysterious Ringing Rocks

Mysterious Moving Rocks

Address:
Racetrack Valley Rd, Death Valley National Park, CA
Directions:
Take Hwy 190 into Death Valley National Park. At the intersection of Hwy 190 and North Hwy, turn north (onto North Hwy) for a little over 33 miles. Turn left onto Racetrack Valley Rd and stay on it for 31 miles to the Racetrack, which will be on the left. The rocks are two miles down the road, at the south end. Racetrack Valley Rd is unpaved, and prone to bumpy spots and to washouts in wet weather, so drive slowly and carefully.
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September 1, 2014

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