Tramplings/Tremors

Not a big fan of the author's politics but his efforts at natral history are fairly good of coure the people he disposessed were masters now long gone and unreported. …


From the book: Reed Anthony, Cowman

"The methods of handling such a herd were a constant surprise to me, as well as the schooling of these plainsmen drovers. Goodnight had come to the plains when a boy of ten, and was a thorough master of their secrets. On one occasion, about midway between Horsehead Crossing and our destination, difficulty was encountered in finding an entrance to the river on account of its abrupt banks. It was late in the day, and in order to insure a quiet night with the cattle water became an urgent necessity.

Our young foreman rode ahead and found a dry, sandy creek, its bed fully fifty yards wide, but no water, though the sand was damp. The herd was held back until sunset, when the cattle were turned into the creek bed and held as compactly as possible. The heavy beeves naturally walked back and forth, up and down, the sand just moist enough to aggravate them after a day's travel under a July sun.

But the tramping soon agitated the sands, and within half an hour after the herd had entered the dry creek the water arose in pools, and the cattle drank to their hearts' content.

As dew falls at night, moisture likewise rises in the earth, and with the twilight hour, the agitation of the sands, and the weight of the cattle, a spring was produced in the desert waste."

This excerpt was taken from a biography of a cow-hand in the mid 19th century. It is posted here to indicate what a tremor can do to disturb water courses.

Cattle are fairly sure footed and the larger the beast, the more tender it's step as they can weigh up to half a ton and falling over is not a great idea when you weigh in that catagory. Never the less, the herd in this case numbered some 2,200. Which put the load in the region of 1,000 tons -and the trampling would soon become harmonic if I know anything about crowds walking.

So it was a fair tremor. And revealed a method for evaluating the magnitude of small earthquakes. Not exactly the finest system but a good rule of thumb I suppose.

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