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Sailing Rocks

An old travelling stones mystery still keeps people puzzled

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Sailing rocks or sliding rocks is a geological phenomenon, when stones move on their own without any help, leaving long tracks, perfectly visible on a smooth dry lake bed. Some stones leave parallel lines, other show turns and even reversals. But there are also those that don’t move at all, and others that move in absolutely different directions. Some of the rocks can weight over a hundred kilogrammes and this raises the main question—how?

This phenomenon was studied in various locations by a number of scientists and experts. And finally a few years ago it has been discovered that during sunny winter days the ice that lies on the ground starts to melt and break into smaller parts. Later, during cold nights these ice panels are driven by the wind and push the rocks. As a result in the morning, you’ll find long tracks left after their sliding.

The speed of the rocks can be up to 5 m/min, and there were stones that have travelled over 200 meters. If you want to see stones moving and find your own answer for this phenomenon visit the Death Valley National Park in California during winter months. Head to the Racetrack Playa to see them.

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