How was the Racetrack playa formed?

How was the Racetrack playa formed?

During periods of heavy rain, water washes down from the surrounding mountains draining into the playa, forming a shallow, short-lived endorheic lake. Under the hot desert sun, the thin veneer of water quickly evaporates leaving behind a surface layer of soft slick mud.

What is the mystery of Racetrack Playa?

At Racetrack Playa, a dry lake bed at Death Valley National Park in California, it was a long-standing mystery that was finally cracked in 2014 by two cousins. They discovered that the rocks were nudged into motion by melting panels of thin floating ice, driven by light winds, in winter.

What is the significance of Racetrack Playa?

Erosional forces cause rocks from the surrounding mountains to tumble to the surface of the Racetrack. Once on the floor of the playa the rocks move across the level surface leaving trails as records of their movements.

Who discovered the sailing stones?

But if they’re not magic, what really does cause the stones to sail? In 1948, two USGS geologists named Jim McAllister and Allen Agnew set out to answer the question. They proposed that dust devils caused the strange movement, perhaps in combination with the playa’s intermittent flooding.

Why is it called Death Valley?

Why is it called Death Valley? Death Valley was given its forbidding name by a group of pioneers lost here in the winter of 1849-1850. Even though, as far as we know, only one of the group died here, they all assumed that this valley would be their grave.

Do people live in Death Valley?

More than 300 people live year-round in Death Valley, one of the hottest places on Earth. With average daytime temperatures of nearly 120 degrees in August, Death Valley is one of the hottest regions in the world.

Why is Death Valley so hot?

The biggest factor behind Death Valley’s extreme heat is its elevation. Parts of it are below sea level, even though the area is 250 miles (400 kilometers) inland from any major body of water. Also, a major set of mountains (the Sierra Nevada) block moisture from the Pacific from reaching the basin.

Is it worth going to Racetrack Playa?

Is Racetrack Playa worth it? If you are doing this only to snap a few photos of some rocks with trails, you might be disappointed. Sure, seeing the sailing stones is very cool but for us, it was not as exciting as we thought it would be. The footprints, tire tracks, and vandalism all take away from this experience.

Do rocks grow?

Rocks also grow bigger, heavier and stronger, but it takes a rock thousands or even millions of years to change. Water also contains dissolved metals, which can “precipitate” out of seawater or freshwater to grow rocks. These rocks are called concretions or nodules.

Do humans live in Death Valley?

Has anyone died at Death Valley?

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (CBSLA) — Two men died while hiking in Death Valley National Park in less than five days, park officials said Tuesday. Both deaths happened as they hiked near the Golden Canyon Trail in Death Valley National Park, where temperatures reach triple digits by 10 a.m. in the summer.

What is the hottest place on Earth?

Death Valley
Death Valley holds the record for the highest air temperature on the planet: On 10 July 1913, temperatures at the aptly named Furnace Creek area in the California desert reached a blistering 56.7°C (134.1°F).

What kind of Lake is the Racetrack Playa?

The Racetrack Playa, or The Racetrack, is a scenic dry lake feature with “sailing stones” that inscribe linear “racetrack” imprints.

Where is the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley?

The Racetrack Playa is located above the northwestern side of Death Valley, in Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, U.S. The research team calculated that in the right conditions during winter months, rainfall pooled on the surface of the playa would freeze during the night and then melt the following day.

Why are the rocks sliding on my Racetrack Playa?

Rarely, about once every several years, the occasional shallow lake that covers the surface of Racetrack Playa freezes over, covering the playa with a thin layer of ice, floating on a thin layer of water. Could a wind, blowing across the surface of the ice, move the ice, along with the embedded rocks, across the surface of the playa?

What are the depressions in the Racetrack Playa?

Depressions in the Racetrack playa are intermittent springs that are active at time of precipitation. Detailed view illustrate conical holes where the water comes out on the surface when this area receive excess of precipitation. There are three areas of aligned depressions ( intermittent springs) in the playa.