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January 11, 2011

Death Valley's Sailing Stones

By Lacy Morris

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Death Valley National Park, California,Racetrack Playa,sailing stones(Pete Ryan,Nat Geo,Getty)
Racetrack Playa in California's Death Valley National Park (Pete Ryan/National Geographic Images/Getty)

Planet Earth is not only home to nearly seven billion people; it is the source of wonder and amazement for some of our most brilliant minds. Sailing stones, one of the many geological phenomenons of California's Death Valley, occur when rocks (some just pebbles, others nearly 700-pound boulders) move along the floor of the appropriately named Racetrack Playa—at times dramatically changing direction in more than 90-degree turns. No human has ever witnessed this phenomenon firsthand; thick meandering scars on the desert floor are the only evidence of their existence.

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Related Topics: California Travel


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