Photo: Noel Jenkins (flickr)
Did you know that Death Valley has rocks that move on their own? Yes, it’s true.
Scientists know the rocks move because there are paths in the sand that show the rock’s movement. So, what is causing the rocks to move?
One theory was that rain water moved the rocks. However, in Death Valley, it rarely rains enough to push or even float the rocks to a new location.
However, a scientist at Johns Hopkins University has a new explanation. When it does rain in Death Valley, the rain collects under the rocks. At night, when the temperature drops, the water freezes forming ice sheets. Combined with high winds, the rocks float on the ice sheets and move.
You can never tell the rocks are moving because they move at such little increments.
Scientists hope to install a time-lapse camera to better understand the rock’s movement.
Death Valley is similar in condition to planets like Mars, which is why scientists are so interested in how and why things happen.
- Rafting for Rocks (U.S. News & World Report)