I love mysteries. I love mystery books, mystery TV shows and movies, and you can’t tear me away from Agatha Christie or Hercule Poirot shows on PBS.
Why do I love who-dun-its? I think it is the tying together of all the pieces at the end of the book or show that I find most satisfying. I also enjoy adding my own sleuthing to figure out who the bad guy (or gal) is.
Why oh why am I so sad that finally, after centuries of guessing, hypothesizing, research, scientists have discovered how the Death Valley “sailing rocks” move and leave behind a trail etched in the sand.
On Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, stones and large rocks have moved across the valley, and this movement has never been witnessed by humans … until now. AND by sheer luck.
Until now, it was thought that pranksters, or hurricane force winds, or even aliens (yikes!) moved the rocks. As it turns out, ice, only as thick as a pane of glass, is responsible.
Occasionally there is flooding on the playa, and temperatures cold enough to create a crust of ice. As it warms and the wind picks up, the sheets of ice move and actually push the rocks, leaving a wake in the sand behind them.
Unlike mystery books and shows that are created to entertain us, Mother Nature doesn’t seem to like to tie up the loose ends; she always has another trick up her sleeve. The magnificent mysteries of Nature are too big to put into a novel or a screenplay. It’s exciting to wondering how things work.
Sure, we need to learn as much as we can about Nature so we can co-exist, and as much curiosity that I had about the “sailing stones’, I can’t but feel a little let down that this wonder has been solved.
Watch this video and learn more about the recent discovery of how sailing rocks move.