First Observation of Rocks in Motion


The Racetrack is a unique attraction of Death Valley National Park that not many park visitors get to see. It’s a dry lakebed in a very remote and beautiful area. On the north end of the lakebed is a rock formation known as the grandstands. Rocks from the grandstands and other nearby formations break off and fall onto the lake. There, they perform feats that make this remote playa world-famous.


They move! But after all these years, a hundred or more since this phenomenon was brought to the attention of naturalists studying Death Valley, no one has ever seen them move. These rocks aren’t boulders; most are perhaps a foot or so tall, but can still weigh a lot and are not easy to lift.

Update August 2014: For more than 50 years, scientists have puzzled over rocks that seemed to move across the dry landscape of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park. They could see their trails but only speculated how they might have moved from point A to point B, not seeing one actually in the act of transit. Until now. Watch time-lapse video of the rock-movement phenomenon and learn the secret. More…


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