Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 21 to 29 of 29

Thread: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

  1. #21
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,602

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Part 2: then look up the study to see if this part matches. If that playa contains bentonite or a similar hydroscopic clay (probable), what the happens is that if enough moisture is present there (it doesn't have to be a soaking rain), the clay swells shut and essentially waterproofs itself. That means a very thin film will remain on the surface and not soak in. Being thin, it will also easily freeze, but in a different manner than under the rocks. The clay particles themselves are virtually interlocked, just like a tortoise shell. I learned all this selling clay-based waterproofings. So that ice will produce an ephemeral ice-skating rink, which will sublimate and disappear the next dawn. Soaking rains will, on the other hand, soak the playa and become apparent as crack patterns. Not common on the Racetrack; but it can happen once in awhile. So are there any new tweaks to this fifty year old explanation, or just a confirmation of it? A few nails out there might help with the ATV vandalism.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Jul 1998
    Location
    Lund, Sweden
    Posts
    2,209

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Plos One is a respectable journal. That doesn't mean it's holy writ, but the obvious objections will have been covered.

    This study doesn't rule out ice heave as another mechanism, but it seems unlikely to me. The parallel tracks with matching kinks and changes of direction fit perfectly with the idea of several boulders held by the same large ice sheet and being carried along with it. They would be hard to reproduce with an ice mechanism, especially with different size boulders - most freeze-thaw flow patterns also involve size sorting.

    The journal article is pay to read (unless you have an institutional subscription), but the figures and captions are available for free. They make the argument pretty clear - and, to my mind, watertight.

  3. #23
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,602

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Ice-heave via needle ice is the basic mechanism behind rock glacier, sorted rings and mounds, etc - that is something I've studied quite a bit, and it does not fit
    the Racetrack phenomenon at all, other than the probability that needle ice very briefly forms under the rocks, as I already described. Why do I say that? - because of the basically dessicated conditions where that kind of thing is likely to transpire after the water condenses. But it would be a very temporary thing. Frost heaving
    requires months, years, centuries to do its thing to any conspicuous degree. As much as I hate the proliferation of drones, it would be one way to systematically
    map what those rocks are doing. But I still think the very most probably explanation is that aliens are playing either bocci ball or croquet out there.

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Jul 1998
    Location
    Lund, Sweden
    Posts
    2,209

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Has anyone considered the possibility that the whole playa is moving, and the rocks are standing still?

    We have solifluction terraces on our local hills in N.W.Scotland which are probably remnants from the last glacial maximum (it hasn't been cold enough for long enough since). I always find it odd that a hundred year old wood will be designated a pristine nature reserve, but not ten thousand year old soil structures.

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    4,433

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Struan Gray View Post
    Has anyone considered the possibility that the whole playa is moving, and the rocks are standing still?
    Good thought. Maybe that's how it really works and the GPS sensors on the rocks were deceived.

  6. #26
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,602

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Darn aliens sure have us tricked, don't they? Making the rocks stand still as the earth revolves!

  7. #27
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
    Posts
    9,718

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Good thought. Maybe that's how it really works and the GPS sensors on the rocks were deceived.
    Well duh!
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #28
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,602

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    GPS has it shortcomings, especially when the person reading it is holding it upside down and thinks east is west. .. especially when he think an official trail sign with
    an arrow pointing one direction is wrong, and his GPS is correct instead. I won't relate the whole story like I did over on APUG, but it happened two weeks ago. His
    friends were waiting at the parking lot, two miles away one direction, and he insisted on going the other way, twelve miles away when he finally reached the wrong
    trailhead, with no cell phone reception in that area. The brains behind inventing that device mean very little if the person reading it has no brains of his own!

  9. #29
    Bob Sawin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    124

    Re: Death Valley Racetrack Mystery Revealed!

    Always held hope that it would turn out to be Bigfoot skipping stones...
    Best regards,

    Bob
    CEO-CFO-EIEIO, Ret.

Similar Threads

  1. Death Valley
    By Terry Hull in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 9-Sep-2014, 21:34
  2. Concerns Re Overnighting at Racetrack in Death Valley
    By Richard K. in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 4-Jan-2011, 14:57
  3. Need Death Valley Advice re Racetrack & Saline Valley
    By Richard K. in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 31-Dec-2010, 10:26
  4. Death Valley
    By Terry Hull in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 11-Feb-2010, 17:43
  5. Death Valley Wildflowers
    By QT Luong in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-May-2005, 13:44

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •