Sailing stones, sliding rocks, and moving rocks all refer to a geological phenomenon where rocks move in long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. They have been recorded and studied in a number of places around Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, where the number and length of travel grooves are notable.
Sailing Stones, Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, CA No one has ever seen one of the “sailing stones” on Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa move, but evidence of their travels is visible in the long track marks that trail behind them in the dusty ground. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how the rocks—which can weigh hundreds of pounds—make their way across the dry lake bed. The prevailing theory is that when the rocks are wet or icy, they’re pushed along the flat playa by strong winds.