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The Mysterious 'Sailing Stones' of Death Valley

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There are many strange phenomena around the world, and many things that have not been explained, even in this scientific age. One of the strangest anomalies is the moving stones on the desert floor of Death Valley.

Death Valley is an area within the Mojave Desert, and is the lowest and driest area in North America, and presently holds the title of the "hottest place in the world." Its Badwater Basin is an amazing 282 feet below sea level, and is located only 84 miles from the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney.

In this mysterious valley lie the "Sailing Stones." They are called this because they seem to sail across the desert floor, leaving tracks of their movements in the sand, but no one has ever seen them move. Some have even made 90 degree turns, which is remarkable because some weigh as much as 700 lbs.. There have been many theories as to how these stones move, ranging from the winds that whip across the desert, to UFOs making them move.

In 2006 a Nasa scientist named Ralph Lorenzo decided to try and solve the mystery. He concluded through experiments that the rock movement was caused by water freezing on the desert floor, thus giving the rocks a slippery surface to be easily moved by the wind on, but the the weight of the rock was such that it left tracks in the desert floor. This could be possible because the temperatures in the basin sometimes drop well below freezing, thus if there is moisture available in whatever form at that time, it could freeze. But, until someone actually sees them move, it will remain a mystery. To read more about Lorenzo's experiment, go to Live Science.

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