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Interactive video lesson plan for: Geologist's Dream - Riddle of the Moving Stones

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Death Valley is a place of the weird, and the wonderful. In a far flung corner of the park, a geologist and his students from Hampshire College Massachusetts, have been studying a mystery that has baffled them for the last 15 years. On a dried lakebed known as the Racetrack Playa, there is the “Riddle of the Moving Stones”.

Sailing stones, sliding rocks, and moving rocks all refer to a geological phenomenon where rocks move and inscribe long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. Tracks from these sliding rocks have been observed and studied in various locations, including Little Bonnie Claire Playa in Nevada, and most notably Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park, California, where the number and length of tracks are notable. At Racetrack Playa, these tracks have been studied since the early 1900s, yet the origins of stone movement are not confirmed and remain the subject of research for which several hypotheses exist.

Clip from the documentary “Natural Wonders of the World”.

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