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Monday, September 1, 2014

Enigma Of The Sailing Stones

I'd been puzzling over recent pictures of stones sailing on Death Valley playas, such as this one by Dan Duriscoe, for the U.S. National Park Service, considering the viability of a new theory.
The theory, which has been recently tested and shows promise, proposes that ice-sheets on thawing puddles break up and push stones before them under wind. As I considered this notion, Norma came indoors with a photo from the woody end of our yard. It was a picture of what she calls "the bunny trail" --not sure why-- with a stony lump in the distance:
She then showed me a second photo, in which a slight but definite change was evident:
The stone had shifted! It had gone from point A to point B.  I hastily labeled our data and suggested we repair to the bunny trail where, by stealthy combination of creeping and hopping, we gained a closer view of the moving stone.
It stood stock still for a moment --long enough for me to identify it as a rare, long-eared sort of desert granite-- before it called me "Puny Man!" and ran away. But I heard it exclaim, ere it dove out of sight—“Happy Labor Day to all, and leave beer on the porch!”

There are, of course, many theories regarding the enigma of California's sailing stones but I conclude our friend Tyrannosaurus Cottontail succeeded in retrieving his bunny suit, that dinosaurs are still among us disguised as rabbits and rocks --and nothing can convince me that I have not seen the truth.

29 comments:

  1. Tyrannosaurus Cottontail's suit fits him (and suits him) really well. He might have to limit his beer consumption. Two for you, one for him...

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    1. Indeed, he looks quite handsome, and I have laid in an supply of Guinness Extra Stout in advance of future visits.

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  2. The world is full of amazing things, Geo. I am counting on you to point them out.

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    1. I shall, in all my best, obey you madam (Hamlet: act 1, scene 2).

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  3. Isn't it cool that the truth shows up in all sorts of guises? Yeah, give that bunny a beer.

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    1. Nature is the language of the universe --surely worth a beer!

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  4. If you drink enough beer with those thirsty T-Cottontails, stones will not only begin to shift - but also many other previously inanimate objects. I speak from experience.

    Methinks those stones in Death Valley are rolling from earthquakes.

    I did absolutely no labor today.

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    1. No labor for me either, Jon. In the union, we called that solidarity!

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  5. I like the mystery of those Death Valley rocks. As for your rocks, get a Beagle and she how fast they move.

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    1. Good suggestion! I wonder if Beagles could be used to herd rocks from quarry to market.

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  6. Bunny tastes pretty good you know.

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    1. And I imagine T-cottontail tastes like chicken. Win-win!

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  7. Definitely there is an enigma in what you observed.

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    1. Indeed, an enigma wrapped in a mystery disguised as a rabbit.

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    1. Critter and his family play havoc with the garden, but yes he's cute.

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  9. Sounds like a young or mini jackalope to me.

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    1. I remember seeing them on postcards along Route 66, Emma, but not since. How old are they when they get their antlers?

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    2. Not being an expert I cannot give the definitive answer but I would imageine that they get them whenever they want to.

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  10. Hey, I seen that dude, man. And then I had beer on the porch. Who am I to ignore an enigma?

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    1. There IS no ignoring enigmas. When you search them out you must be very sure they're what you want because they'll never leave you alone, not ever.

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  11. Plate tectonics is still a developing theory, according to a geologist friend of mine. You've offered proof that there are still phenomena to explain.

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    1. Tectonics (from the Greek τεκτονικός, which means "stacking") has progressed far enough to explain why plates fall over if piled too high. It is still the likeliest theory.

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  12. It is amazing how much that rock looks like a rabbit. The Death Valley "rock" appears to be a chinchilla on wheels...I'm surprised they didn't notice that?

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    1. A theory of substance! Wheeled chinchillas often venture far from their South American jungles in search of WD-40.

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  13. Rabbits drink beer? Coffee I would have expected but not beer. Are they partial to ales? lagers? Not that I'm prepared to share, mind you.

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    1. Rabbits are not partial to beer, but dinosaurs in bunny suits like stout. Check in their fur for buttons and zippers before giving them any.

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