Pat Shingleton: "Nitrogen and Damming..."
Last week's storms included a hefty batch of lightning and a hefty batch of nitrogen within those strikes to benefit our agricultural interests. Nature Geoscience noted that scientists challenged a commonly held theory about rainfall’s activity after reaching the ground. It was previously believed that rainfall entering the soil would mix with additional “ensuing” rain until transportation into the plant. Oregon State University researchers determined that rain is securely captured within plants until it is needed. The movement of rainfall was tracked through the Cascade Mountains and because of specific water signatures, researchers followed the rainfall from soil to small pores adjacent to the roots. These pores stored the rainfall until it was used in the transpiration process. The excess rainfall was diverted from the plants directly to nearby streams. In closing, an unexpected dam break in Texas yesterday could possibly drain an entire lake this weekend. On this date in 1874 a dam break in Williamsburg, MA killed 13. Years ago, an earthquake in China caused cracks in the Zipingpu Dam, endangering communities down river. Floods have been caused by the failure of dams and the stress on these structures because of heavy or prolonged downpours. On February, 26, 1972, two coal slag dams along Buffalo Creek in southern West Virginia broke, unloading two miles of backed-up water into a lower dam that exploded. In the hollow below, 4,000 homes were washed away and 125 people died. On June 5, 1976, the 305-foot Teton Dam in Idaho collapsed releasing 80 billion gallons of water into adjoining farmland.
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