How did pre-colonization Midwestern Native Americans deal with tornados?
There is the account of Iseeo, a Kiowa informant to the anthropologist James Mooney. The Kiowa called tornadoes Mánkayía. Mánkayía was a great medicine horse, or a horse-like spirit.
Here is an excerpt from Iseeo’s account. Iseeo was a member of a war party returning from a raid against the Utes, when they encountered a tornado near the Washita River in Oklahoma.
Suddenly, the leader of the party shouted for the men to dismount and prepare for a hard rain. Soon, too, with the approaching cloud, lseeo recalled hearing a -roar that sounded like buffalo in the rutting season. Sloping down from the cloud a sleeve appeared, its center red; from this lightning shot out. The tremendous funnel tore through the timber bordering the Washita. heaving trees into the air.
Some of the young men wanted to run away, but the older, more experienced Kiowas knew what must be done. They called for everyone to try hard and brace themselves. The elders drew their pipes from saddlebags and lit them. They raised their pipes to the storm spirit, entreating it to smoke, and to go around them. The cloud heard their prayers, lseeo explained, and passed by.
This group, at least, tried to make peace with Mánkayía so that they could escape unharmed.
Read more of the account (last page, PDF) here, and the whole article is certainly interesting.(https://esirc.emporia.edu/bitstream/handle/123456789/904/Marchand%20Vol%2026%20Num%202.pdf?sequence=1)
The source is Mankaya and the Kiowa Indians: Survival, Myth and the Tornado. By Michael Marchand. pg. 19 Heritage of the Great Plains, VOL. XXVI, #2 SUMMER 1993 Emporia State University.
One of the worst storms of the Dust Bowl, ‘Black Sunday’ was said to have stripped the Earth of ~600,000,000 pounds of fertile Prairie topsoil; April 14, 1935.
And this is what lead to the Soil Conservation Act.
“People caught in their own yards grope for the doorstep. Cars come to a standstill, for no light in the world can penetrate that swirling murk…. The nightmare is deepest during the storms. But on the occasional bright day and the usual gray day we cannot shake from it. We live with the dust, eat it, sleep with it, watch it strip us of possessions and the hope of possessions” – Avis D. Carlson, The New Republic
Here’s a map of where the storms took place:
Soil ended up as far away as Washington, D.C.
Terrain outside Anchorage, Alaska after the March 27, 1964 Earthquake (Magnitude 9.2)
It was the second most violent earthquake ever recorded—and these pictures are from 75 miles away from the epicenter. All told, nearly 100,000 square miles of land experienced “vertical displacement of up to 38 feet“. It was so powerful that it produced a tsunami that caused damage in Hawaii. And Japan.
This part of Alaska lies on what’s called a “subduction zone.” Tectonic faults like the San Andreas Fault have two plates sliding sideways, with one going north and the other going south. In a subduction zone, you have one tectonic plate sliding into—or under—another. Eventually so much pressure builds up that one of the plates buckles, and suddenly you have bits of land that are fifteen feet higher or lower than they used to be.
If you go out into Resurrection Bay there are small islands that dropped several feet deeper into the water. All the trees on those islands sucked sea water up into their roots and all the way up into the larger branches, killing the trees and preserving them as they were 50 years ago.
Full Album of selected Photographs
Youtube account from Woman (7 years old at the time) which I thought was fascinating.
Amateur Home Video Footage- Post Quake