When I first learned about Death Valley in my high school history class I never imaged that one day I would actually visit this mysterious place. The most famous of all the many mysteries of Death Valley, in California’s Mojave Desert, are its rolling stones – and, no, I am not talking my favorite band. Amid the eerie silence, roaming rocks appear to patrol the desert.
The stones leave trails across the sand in places almost untouched by people. Some of these rocks are as heavy as a person (up to 250 pounds) and it is bizarre for me to imagine them gliding across the desert like this – seemingly of their own free will or some magical force.
The prevailing theory of experts in the field geology is that the seemingly strange movement of the stones can be explained by a phenomenon that, while not supernatural in nature, is still certainly incredible.
Professor John Reid, from Hampshire College, Massachusetts, studied the phenomena and concluded that the 90 mph winds, ice formations at night and thin layers of wet clay on the surface of the desert all combine to push the rocks resulting in the unique patterns. Climatologists believe the phenomenon could unfortunately disappear in a few years if the temperatures continue to rise.
Some geologists are skeptical of the idea that the power of the wind is strong enough to move such large and heavy stones, never mind keep them in constant motion for hundreds of feet, or more, across the valley. The rolling stones of Death Valley continue to bask in a mix of mystery, intrigue and wonder.
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