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The Dancing Rocks of Death Valley - Photo's

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posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 01:16 AM
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Although Death Valley is the lowest and hottest point in the Western Hemisphere, the rocks originate at about 4,000 feet, where winter brings freezing temperatures and a variety of weather conditions. At least four theories have been explored (excluding alien intervention):

* Vibrations from earthquakes
* Swelling clay that pushes up on the rocks
* Ice sheets that slide downward, carrying objects with them
* The combination of high winds and slick clay

The most popular theory is wind. After rains, a fine, slippery layer of clay forms across the playa, reducing friction. When two columns of strong wind whip across the site, they may push the rocks across the lake bed. When crosscurrents of wind meet, a pocket of low pressure forms, creating mini-tornadoes that may steer some rocks in all directions. This weather pattern could create straight lines and zigzags.




posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 08:11 AM
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I've got a dual monitor setup with this as my desktop background. It's a nighttime panoramic view of Racetrack Playa from Dan Duriscoe of the US National Park Service.

antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov...

It suggests that the rocks are moved by the wind pushing them after a slick rain.

antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov...



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 08:23 AM
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And yet, the question remains. How can the wind move a rock with a mass equivalent to a small car?

It's not like there is an incline or gravitational assists going on here. And the rocks themselves are not perfectly sculpted to provide a smooth bottom surface for gliding ease. The soil itself is not (as can bee seen) a uniform flat surface either.

So far the naturalist explanation includes water (rain and ice), wind, and temperature as the key variables to this phenomenon. I suspect something is missing because that explanation is not entirely persuasive.

I don't doubt there is a scientific reason this occurs. But insofar as wind, rain, and ice; there is not enough there to satisfy the energy requirement to move matter over the surface for the distances evidenced by the trails and measurement taken thus far.

Starred for a great OP Elf!



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by MischeviousElf



Just thinking about this for the first time, this photo seems to me to show that the movement over time is mostly down to one side of the rock expanding in the heat more than the other.

Look at the right side or the rock, clearly there it is in shade, and the intense sun is on the other side. The over the continuous days and nights you can see the way the side that gets more heat has expanded more than the other, causing that arc to the shaded side.

Add to that subtle seismic action and you have some pretty impressive rock motility.

Just my tuppence.

edit: you can even see on that rock that vein of what looks like quartz perfictaly lined up with the direction of travel... that would help a lot, in a simular way a bimetal works, here you have a 'bi'rock, the left and right sides are basically the same composition, but they are experiencing very different temperature curves.

... I wonder if the Quartz's piezoelectric properties are also helping the process?

[edit on 20/1/2009 by Now_Then]

edit after the edit.... Also along the same lines the clay earth in the shadow all day long would expand far less than the surrounding clay that is baked in the very strong sun.

[edit on 20/1/2009 by Now_Then]



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 08:36 AM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 


I heard about this many years ago but I did not know that the rocks have the ability to translate up a gradient.

I would like to know what the magnetic properties of the rocks are and how they could possibly interact with the local geomagnetic field.

Also, a chemical analysis of the rocks and the surface material they rest on might be able to yield some clues. The electrostatic interactions between the two materials may provide clues to this mystery.



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 08:57 AM
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Bentonite clay is magnetic.
Are the rocks, also?



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 09:01 AM
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reply to post by Clearskies
 


That looks like granite to me, I know the granite up on the moors where I live is slightly magnetic, I think all granite is...



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 09:04 AM
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reply to post by Now_Then
 


Thanks.
Then maybe, the rocks are pulled by the magnetic forces?
When given ice formations or wet clay?



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 09:55 AM
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It's all about water and wind. With a low enough coefficient of friction, the wind can move a rock of any size.

Video of the process:



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 10:29 AM
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Most of the rocks are volcanic on the playa (95%)

And the only rocks i have found that are magnetic are meteorites.

That is why we use metal detectors to hunt meteorites on dry lake beds.

And i know of no rocks at devil's Racetrack that weigh as much as a car.

The biggest i have ever heard of moving weigh about 30 pounds.
I also know of no researcher that has ever claimed of any larger then 30 pounds moving.

Bentonite is not magnetic. But is very slick and slimy.
If you drive onto a wet lake bed of bentonite clay you will get stuck real quick and your tires will just spin and not move forward. Even though only the top 1/2 inch is wet and slick.
en.wikipedia.org...

[edit on 20-1-2009 by ANNED]

[edit on 20-1-2009 by ANNED]



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by rockieboy
I've got a dual monitor setup with this as my desktop background. It's a nighttime panoramic view of Racetrack Playa from Dan Duriscoe of the US National Park Service.

antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov...

It suggests that the rocks are moved by the wind pushing them after a slick rain.

antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov...


OMG !! I have never seen so many stars in my life. That picture is amazing !



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 12:51 PM
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reply to post by Now_Then
 


Only problem with earthquake movement is that the path would not be complete and the same all the way through..there would be inconsistancies within the path/pattern because of the vibration of the quakes would disrupt the smooth dragging of the rock.

If it was morse code it would be ..----.---.-----. according to that theory, when in fact it is like this --------------------------------



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 01:32 PM
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Wow, This brings back memories. I find the videos that are posted not that rich in the evidence department. If water was dragging it around shouldn't the rocks all gather at the same spot were the water might vaporize?

I find it very funny that something we find is one of the most stationary things on this planet is leaving a trail!



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 


Known forces acting upon those rocks:
-Gravity
-Normal force


The normal force (force of the ground against the rock) is subject to geological instabilities...

The force of gravity is subject to tidal pulling from the moon.

So, it could be that between the tidal pull and the geological fluctuations the rocks are compelled to roll in the direction where the moon is at the time? would the evidence support this idea?

-rrr



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 02:29 PM
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Originally posted by ANNED
Only new falls are found in the middle of a dry lake bed.
Even heavy nickel iron meteorites will drift to the downwind edge over time.


Anned have you ever seen the tracks from those meteorites, when they move when hunting.

Thanks for your first hand experience of this.

reply to post by rockieboy
 


Wonderful photos linked to!

The rock tracks and Milky Way in the night is very stunning thank you!


Originally posted by Maxmars
I don't doubt there is a scientific reason this occurs. But insofar as wind, rain, and ice; there is not enough there to satisfy the energy requirement to move matter over the surface for the distances evidenced by the trails and measurement taken thus far.


That is exactly how I feel about it Maxmars well said.


Originally posted by Now_Then
... I wonder if the Quartz's piezoelectric properties are also helping the process?


Now then thats a good eye! good thought Now_Then, I have been leaning to maybe a Magnetic and or gravitational anomaly in this area, maybe this could link in with a Magnetic Theory.

If the rock covering the said quartz is soo heated during the day, then cools soo much at night with the ice, and cold weather... well that is how these Quartz's liberate the electric energy, by compression of the crystal and release. Then maybe any Electric Charge created is not Arcing to another point as there is no Earthing point such as metal, so it creates a type of static charge, maybe just maybe interacting with the Magnetic field, or allowing the Rocks to be affected by it more.

Maybe the answer is here.


Originally posted by ANNED
And i know of no rocks at devil's Racetrack that weigh as much as a car.

The biggest i have ever heard of moving weigh about 30 pounds.
I also know of no researcher that has ever claimed of any larger then 30 pounds moving.


From my OP Post ANNED


Some of these rocks weigh several hundred pounds. That makes the question: "How do they move?" a very challenging one.

Geology.Com

There are dances and lores of the native American Indians that include Dancing Rocks, I did read about them ages ago, though I believe they were from a Tradition much further south, Have been unable to source it yet, but I will dig around for it more in some books.

Some great contributions for me to think about and explore this further, thank you all.

Kind Regards,

Elf



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 02:31 PM
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This phenomenon has been reported for a long time, and I still remember watching footage of a documentary my uncle presented to me that was originally aired in the 70s about these rocks.

What I want to know is why haven't scientists just placed camera around the vicinity that takes a picture every day?



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 03:31 PM
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I was in Death Valley a few months ago.

It has nothing to do with magnetic rocks. They are not Iron based. It has nothing to do with Earthquakes as the area is very geologically stable in that respect. It has nothing to do with the Moon or tidal influence. Tides pull in TWO directions after all. To correct an earlier post, there is NO permafrost in Death Valley either as it is the hottest place in the USA.

If you look at every mountain, valley, and canyon on the planet, you will see geological weathering on a grand scale. Wind, water, and time have carved the mighty rockies and dug out the Grand Canyon. This case, while unusual, is more of the same.

The Lake bed is very dry and made up of tiny clay like silt particles. When wet it becomes slicker than snot. It is also Very windy at times. Enough to knock you over if you are not paying attention. Cars of the park Rangers who live there, often need to have their windshields replaced due to the constant sandblasting they get. Notice how winter ice creates cracks in hardened concrete, or how frost heaves tear apart roads.

In this case, rocks sitting on a wet, and very slippery surface, are subject to the environment they are surrounded by. At night, deserts become very cold and ice is common. Wind whipping down off the mountains as the temperatures drop, become gale force motivators. Ice forms in some parts on the surface of the lake bed. Ice makes a great battering ram when wind driven. Wind, water and ice combine to move these relatively small rocks much like they combine to tear down mountains. It is cool, but no mystery. Just another example of the beautiful wonder of nature. The video posted twice earlier explains it all.



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 06:12 PM
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www.abovetopsecret.com...


Rocks on Mars are in some areas scattered in a strangely uniform fashion, puzzling scientists for years. Now they've figured it out.

Researchers had thought the rocks were picked up and carried downwind by extreme high-speed winds thought to occur on Mars in the past.

Although Mars is a windy planet, its atmosphere is very thin, so it would be difficult for the wind to carry the small rocks, which range in size from a quarter to a softball, said Jon Pelletier, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Pelletier and his colleagues now think the rocks are constantly on the move, rolling into the wind, not away from it, and creating a natural feedback system that results in their tidy arrangement.


This was the first thread that popped into my mind when I saw the OP here. I realize that there are some different mechanics that operate between the sandy surface of Mars & the Playas of Death Valley, but isn't it interesting that we've got virtually the same general type of phenomena (rocks 'walking' across the desert with no proven explanation on how they do it) happening on both worlds? There is so much we don't know about the forces of nature & the physics of the universe that it's sometimes downright scarey!



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 06:27 PM
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Originally posted by SantaClaus
If this could be explained away by ice, then how are there tracks? The permafrost wouldn't possibly allow the dirt to be moved by the rocks. I don't buy it.


Did you just use the word "permafrost" in a discussion about Death Valley?

Please say you didn't.



posted on Jan, 20 2009 @ 06:42 PM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 


CHECK THIS OUT ON YOU TUBE.
www.youtube.com...




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