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Category:Scenic
Subcategory:Lakes
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:Death Valley, Death Valley National Park, National Park, alone, bed, dawn, desolate, lake, patterns, quiet, racetrack, rock, sailing stones, shadow, shadows, sky, solitude, sun, sunburst, sunrise, texture, textures
Racetrack Of Perseverance & Hope

Racetrack Of Perseverance & Hope

Edition Type: Limited-Edition Fine-Art Collectible
Edition Size: 25
Edition Price Tier: Tier 3 About My Pricing
Edition Print Sizes: 12x18 & above
Original Artist’s Proof: A.P. 1/1 - AVAILABLE & ready to custom print
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Narrative:
"Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel." ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

In a remote dried up lake bed in Death Valley National Park and Wilderness area, of California, known as "The Racetrack", there exists a phenomena that went largely unexplained, until earlier this 2014 year. In the most Southern end of the racetrack, over a half a mile from the nearest dirt road, there are a great many rocks and boulders, ranging from a few pounds up to 40+ pounds, which inexplicably move at certain times of the year under certain conditions.

One popular theory was that the playa (lake bed) gets just barely wet, making it very slippery, and that 90 MPH gale-force winds spinning around this valley could cause the stones to sort of sail slowly along the lake bed and leave evidence of their path over time.

Instead, researchers now say the motion comes from very thin windowpane ice that sometimes covers the dry lake bed. When the ice begins to melt in late morning sun, it may break up under light winds. Floating ice panels may then push the rocks, causing them to move and leave tracks in the desert floor at remarkable potential speeds of up to 15 feet per minute, while the wind speed only reached a minor 10-15 MPH!

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that many rocks do not follow the same type of path as their neighbors just a few feet away. Some move in a circular fashion, such as the one pictured here, while others move straight several yards, make a hard right turn for a few more, then turn back the direction they were originally going, or in a new direction all together. This variance has now been explained to a be result of each rock's shape. Stones with rough bottoms leave straight striated tracks while those with smooth bottoms wander. The frequency of this event is not often though, on average only occurring once every 2 or 3 years.