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The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park

A famous Death Valley sliding stone. The movement of these stones – and their long tracks across the desert floor – are an old mystery that’s now been solved.

A sliding stone at Death Valley's famous Racetrack Playa.  Cat Connor captured this photo on Christmas Day - December 25, 2014.  Visit Cat Connor's website.

View larger. | Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, as captured by Cat Connor. Visit Cat Connor’s website.

Cat Connor captured this beautiful image of a sliding (or sailing or slithering) stone at Death Valley’s famous Racetrack Playa on Christmas Day – December 25, 2014. These stones are known to leave tracks in the desert floor. They clearly do move, but, until recently, no one knew what caused their movement. Want to know? Click here to find out and see a video of the sliding stones in motion.

What causes Death Valley’s sliding stones to move?

Sliding rock tracks, via PLOS ONE.

Sliding stone tracks in the Death Valley desert floor, via the journal PLOS ONE.

Deborah Byrd