Cumberland Times-News

Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum

June 12, 2008

Planet continues to change; Big One on horizon?

In a year that is not yet half over, 2008 has already written itself into the record books for extremes of hot and cold, rain and drought, tornadoes and floods and earthquakes. Our planet Earth has been in a constant state of change.

Scientists tell us that there is much more turbulence to come. They talk of The Big One, telling us that worse weather conditions are ahead of us, though they don't know when. San Andreas Fault is usually mentioned as the great threat, but there is another fault in the Mississippi Valley that might at any time come to life, as it did in the winter of 1811-12.

The epicenter of that quake was near the town of New Madrid, Mo., where it woke the citizens at 2 a.m. on Dec. 15. There was a second shock before daybreak, and then a series of aftershocks that continued into April.

Rattling windows and broken china were reported from Savannah, Ga., and Toronto, Canada; church bells were jostled into sounding from New England to Arkansas. There is no way of knowing how many slight tremors went unrecorded.

There was, however, no loss of life, and very little structural damage. In 1812 there were no large cities in America's Midwest, and houses built of logs or sod could tolerate the shaking. Families could also leave the house and seek safety in a big, open field.

Now, with our crowded cities and towering masonry structures it is a different story. Earthquakes can, and do, occur anywhere, and scientists are concerned with trying to predict their occurrence and help people prepare for the problems they present.

There are widespread stories about animals that can sense when something is wrong; like the proverbial rats leaving a sinking ship, they escape from floods and tornadoes and earthquakes.

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Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum
  • Happy 200th to St. Paul's Lutheran congregation Today is the 200th birthday of the Lutheran congregation in Frostburg!

    On Aug. 14, 1808, 24 people joined in a communion service in the New Church, a log structure on the edge of what is now called the Prichard Farm.

    August 14, 2008

  • Quality, attitude of people make 'Burg special A note in the newspaper a week or so ago mentioned that Oprah Winfrey was looking for "the best small towns in America.'' Frostburg is the best one I know of - but unfortunately Oprah asked for photos or videos supporting the nomination.

    August 7, 2008

  • There's always something new under the sun! The popular press has been devoting a good bit of space in recent weeks to the new swimsuit, introduced by Speedo, which supposedly has contributed to the record-breaking times posted in the Olympic tryouts.

    July 24, 2008

  • Ward and his mansion stand proud in 'Burg I've had questions recently - not for the first time! - about William Ward and the house he built at 73 W. Main St. here in Frostburg.

    July 17, 2008

  • July 4th: Finding our beliefs Independence Day, like Christmas, is one of the few national holidays that has not been moved to Monday, to provide a four-day break for working people. It holds its own as the Fourth of July.

    July 3, 2008

  • Berry-picking brings back many memories Last week I went to Wiley Ford to pick strawberries. I came home with enough for several packets of frozen berries, for three jars of strawberry jam, generous spoonfuls of fruit on my breakfast cereal and shortcake with real whipped cream.

    June 26, 2008

  • Ambulance service has key community role The Frostburg Area Ambulance Service is currently asking for our help in raising money for the protective clothing that new government regulations require.

    June 19, 2008

  • Planet continues to change; Big One on horizon? In a year that is not yet half over, 2008 has already written itself into the record books for extremes of hot and cold, rain and drought, tornadoes and floods and earthquakes. Our planet Earth has been in a constant state of change.

    June 12, 2008

  • In tennis, individuals face each other as equals I'm not a sports person, but I like to watch tennis. During the three big summer tournaments - Paris, London and New York, played on three different surfaces - my TV is on, and I check the newspaper for details that I have missed.

    June 5, 2008

  • Arts are obviously alive in Allegany County Last week I had the pleasure of attending the spring concert of the Allegany Community Symphony Orchestra. The program was free, and nicely varied, and the instrumentalists were competent.

    May 29, 2008

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