187. Steady as a rock?


“Death valley” in California, is the lowest, driest and hottest place in USA. It is a place of extremes, situated nearly 300 feet below the sea level. The most amazing of the many natural wonders found in this valley is the “mystery of the moving stones”!

These ordinary looking stones vary from the size of a pebble to that of a boulder. They lay sprawled over the cracked surface of the dried up lake “Racetrack”, about three miles long.

Each stone has a long and shallow furrow trailing it-just like a tail! Some of these furrows are straight while some others zigzag. Some trails are curved like arcs. Apparently the stones move on their on accord and quite fast too, since some of the tracks are hundreds of feet long!

Why and how do these stones move?

Dr. Robert .P. Sharp, a professor in Geology at the California Institute of technology , spent seven long years in studying this mysterious phenomenon.

He has put forward this theory to explain the mystic movements of the stones.

The combined forces of the wind and water are responsible for this eerie movements of the stones. The courses of their tracks correspond with the direction of the wind prevailing at that time.

Though the average rain fall in the place is rarely more than 2 inches, it is quite enough to form a thing sheet of moisture over the hard clay surface of the dried up lake. On this slippery surface, pushed by a strong wind, a stone can move as fast as three feet per second!

The “Moving Stones” of the “The Racetrack” have become a great tourist attraction.

The mystery and amazement caused by the seemingly “LIVE STONES” on “THE DEATH VALLEY” lingers on!

Visalakshi Ramani

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