Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1906 Earthquake Cows

While putting together my Earthquake lecture, which I just started teaching today, I am reminded of the story of "The Cow" and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. At the USGS the story is retold. Unfortunately, there are not pictures, but the quick story goes that during the earthquake the ground opened up and swallowed a cow. There are some choice quotes in the retelling. At first it was told that the earth really gobbled up the unsuspecting cow:

"The earth opened for miles, right back of the house it swallowed up a cow — all that could be seen of it was the end of its tail. "

In the process the cow "kicked the bucket", somehow. Reporters came to interview the family who owned the cow which was swallowed up by the earth. After a while, 60 years or so, the truth eventually came out

"Look Pax, the cow had died, and we had to bury her. That night along came the earthquake which opened up a big crack and tipped it in, with the feet sticking out. Then along came those newspaper reporters and when they got the idea that the cow had fallen in we weren't about to spoil a good story. Why spoil it now?"

Indeed.

2 comments:

concerned student said...

Professor Savage,
I didn't attend class today cuz it wuz too warm and sunny outside, but I looked at your lecture notes and page 19 has a big black box on it. I also don't understand page 16. It doesn't look anything like Crisco.

al said...

was it a spherical cow?