Racetrack Playa

The world, in which people live, is a big mystery. Though the level of scientific development is high and scholars find answers to more questions every day, the nature creates new challenges for the humanity. To find the right explanations, it is important to watch and analyze different phenomena in question without any unnecessary interventions that may violate the natural order of things. The investigation of some areas or objects takes much time as in the case of Racetrack Playa. This paper summarizes the scientific research on moving stones, performed in the area of Racetrack Playa, thereby conveying the conclusion of geologists about this mysterious movement.

Racetrack Playa has always aroused the interest of scientists; hence, its area is properly studied. Situated in Death Valley National Park, it is a lake bed that is almost perfectly flat and almost always dry. The surface of the Playa is covered with mud cracks. Racetrack Playa aroused the interest of the researchers, because the stones from the nearest mountain fell on the surface of the dry lake and moved in some mysterious way. Some of them are very heavy. However, they leave trails, which prove that they definitely move. Geologists directed their efforts at revealing this simple site, which yet presents a complicated mystery.

Racetrack Playa showed the trails as the results of stone movements; however, nobody has ever seen how the stones moved. Lorenz and Jackson made a table of the scientific investigation of the movement of the rocks since 1969. The geologists counted the number of the rocks, which moved, described the character of their movement, and the changes in the length of the trail. They also offered some versions of the stones' movement, which were as follows: (1) moved by people or animals; however, the trails were mostly made after rain, in the mud, so it was obvious that there were external interventions; (2) moved by ice; however, when a thin layer of ice is formed on the surface and, supposing, the stones moved, the trails would have looked differently; (3) moved by the wind. Therefore, the scholars unanimously agreed that the wind was moving the stones at Racetrack Playa.

When the mystery was officially solved, geologists took more efforts to understand the complete mechanism of the movement. As a result, they saw that after the surface of the lake froze and then melted, the rocks were covered with a thin layer of ice and were smoothly moved by the water, which was left, with the wind causing their movement. Lorenz & Jackson state that the solution of the issue of moving stones additionally helps to prove the phenomenon of rapid climate change: nearby measurements appear to be consistent with reducing probabilities of strongwinds and of ice formation, either of which may be the dominant factor Thus, as all natural phenomena are closely connected, the nature warns people of some inevitable changes through them.

To conclude, it is important to note that Racetrack Playa is definitely an interesting geological site. Geologists took much time and effort to solve its mystery and determine that the wind together with ice made the stones move. People may say that scholars should solve more important natural and environmental issues such as global warming. However, large-scale scientific research may consist of small investigations, which help scholars prove their suppositions. Explaining the phenomenon of Racetrack Playa, they proved their concerns about climate change. Thus, the most important problem nowadays is to determine the ways in which humanity should contribute to preserving the natural balance.

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