Pat Shingleton: "Losing Power and Tree Rings..."
We returned to Standard Time last Sunday noting also the Sun’s seasonal movement to the Southern Hemisphere. Sunset is adjusted to 5:11 p.m. and by 5:45 p.m. we are in the dark. Speaking of being in the dark, on this date in 1965, thirty million people in eight states and Ontario were without light. During the rush hour in New York City and other metropolitan areas in the northeast, total darkness occurred at 5:16 p.m. Later referred to as the Big Blackout, people were trapped in elevators, on subways and freeways. The back-up relay, connecting the Sir Adam Beck No 2 Generating Station, north of Niagara Falls, locked-up, and caused a power surge, tripping circuit breakers. A ripple effect ensued with circuits tripped all along the line zapping thirty interconnected power station. "Switching" from power grids to tree trunks. Tree rings have become a fingerprint to historic weather events and a dermatologist is a scientist who studies them. Anytime a tree is brought-down in our neighborhood, I take a moment to investigate its tree-rings. They are good source of determining weather conditions in a particular year. The larger trees detect a thinner ring, possibly identifying the drought that occurred in our area in 1982. Before the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, 117 colonists stepped ashore onto Roanoke Island on what is now North Carolina. The Lost Colony of Roanoke remains one of the most intriguing disappearances in our history. The entire village disappeared and in years past, historians and archaeologists were unable to determine the fate of the colonists. In 1998, dendrologists uncovered a possible answer, tree rings. Tree rings that were discovered from a stand of bald cypress trees targeted an incredible drought that began before the colonists arrived on July 22, 1587. This drought may have wiped out the village.