There’s nothing humanity loves more than a good mystery, especially when it might entail supernatural or extraterrestrial phenomena. As the Age of Information advances, more of these mysteries are being solved with nothing more than science, to the dismay of imaginative children everywhere.
But science has not yet explained one intriguing mystery: the sailing stones of Racetrack Playa.
The sailing stones can found in California’s Death Valley, parts of which are the lowest and driest location in North America. One of these parts is Racetrack Playa, a small lake basin that has no outlet. The playa is lined with mountains of dolomite on either side, down which heavy rainfalls flow and temporarily fill the lake bed. These waters are very shallow, and do not stand up for long against the extreme temperatures and strong wind currents that characterize this region, evaporating quickly and leaving behind a thick layer of mud.
As the remaining moisture is sucked from the playa, the surface begins to shrink and crack into pieces. Rocks of various shapes and sizes have landed on the playa from the mountains above, some weighing more than a quarter ton. Though virtually no living creature inhabits Racetrack Playa, the stones move across the playa in many directions, some of them changing orientation midway inexplicably.
Theories as to what causes the stones to sail are abundant, ranging from pranks to aliens to plain old physics. Studies have been conducted on the sailing stones since the 1970s, but as of yet, no one has claimed to have solved the mystery. Although we cannot proffer any decisive answers on the matter, we think this footage could be the most plausible in the quest to solve the mystery of the sailing stones.
What do you think is causing the stones to sail in Death Valley?
Image via marc kjerland