Interview with the scientist who learned how those Death Valley rocks move by themselves

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Awesome, but I think he meant inexorably, not inextricably. Easy mistake to make.


i remember sharing the story of the sailing rocks with elementary classes years ago… before the mystery was solved. we had lots of fun speculating as to the cause. while the explanation is amazing, mysteries can generate lots of creative thinking!


Inextricably does actually work in the context, but I agree that inexorably is probably the one he meant.

It’s still a pretty cool story though, and good on him for figuring it out. On the surface (see what I did there?) it seems weird that the Parks Service wouldn’t let him attach GPS blobs to the rocks on the proviso he did it without disturbing the rocks … which I assume would be fairly easy? Blob on a splotch of epoxy, drop a GPS unit into blob, job done?) After all, they do allow the equivalent onto live animals.


This is a wonderful confirmation of our research published in September 1995 in Science News and in Geology. We mapped the tracks of sliding rocks and showed how the rocks, trapped in ice sheets, were blown around but maintained a relationship with one another even as the ice sheet rotated and shifted according to vagaries of wind and friction. Professor John Reid of Hampshire College was the lead author and ringleader of the motley crew out there on the playa. Good Times!


Science solved it? Hah! Where is the other side of the controversy? Why are they trying to silence the Druidic voices?


Science News, Volume 148 #12, Sept. 16th, 1995


Did they ever find the ones that moved by being stolen by a-holes?

I can’t access the article. Did you witness it then, or figure it out from other evidence?

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Actually I set up some night vision cameras on Racetrack Playa and the results of my own investigation are in.


And here I was hypothesizing that this was the site for some Jedi training boot camp.

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