Mysterious ‘Sailing Stones’ Findings Well Worth the Wait

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sailing stones death valley -1Poet and philosopher G.K. Chesterton once said: “One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” And this couldn’t be more true for a team of researchers led by palebiologist Richard Norris of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, who together embarked upon unveiling the mystery of Death Valley’s ‘sailing stones.’

Waiting for rocks to move along the arid desert floor may sound like watching water boil, but for a team of determined scientists it was there in the valley that they witnessed a century-old geological phenomenon that seemed to contradict the majority of theories before them.

In a two-year study, the researchers setup time-lapse cameras, installed a weather station, and even harnessed rocks with GPS tracking devices to systematically calculate the movement of the sailing stones—which until recently, have never been scientifically observed in movement.

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