Boise State SciComp Workshop
A weekly workshop for BSU students focused on exploring various scientific software.
Since 2007, I’ve visited the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park quasi-semi-annually. Racetrack Playa is famous for its sailing stones, rocks ranging in mass from several grams up to tens of kg that slide around the playa’s surface. But, after many decades of study, the rocks have never been seen in motion. With my colleague Ralph Lorenz at JHU’s Applied Physics Lab, I’ve deployed instrumentation to monitor the meteorological conditions on the playa that might drive rock motion.
After several seasons of observing, we’ve developed a plausible explanation for the rock motion but haven’t seen them move yet…
In Winter 2013, our research group finally saw the rocks move! More information available here: http://www.racetrackplaya.org/.
- Lorenz+ (2011b). “Meteorological Conditions at Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park: Implications for Rock Production and Transport.” Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 50:2361.
- Lorenz+ (2011a). “Ice rafts not sails: Floating the rocks at Racetrack Playa.” American Journal of Physics, 79(1):2361.
- Lorenz+ (2010b). “Racetrack and Bonnie Claire: southwestern US playa lakes as analogs for Ontario Lacus, Titan.” Planetary and Space Science, 58(4):724–731.
- Lorenz, Jackson, & Barnes (2010a). “Inexpensive time-lapse digital cameras for studying transient meteorological phenomena: dust devils and playa flooding.” Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 27:246.
- Nat Geo’s “Wild Case Files” — Poison Beach ep.
- NASA — “The Mysterious Roving Rocks of Racetrack Playa”
Every semester since 2009, I’ve organized themed geology camping trips for friends in the Washington Metro area. We’ve visited several sites around the mid-Atlantic. Click here for more.