Bizzare Google Earth images of my home town. Answered
I was fiddling around with google earth the other day when I realized that I've never looked at the area around my home town in Nebraska. I dialed in the coordinates and pulled up the satellite images, and what I found was so profoundly strange that I felt compelled to share it.
What you are seeing here are topographical images of prairie land and cows. The land consists of small rolling hills of dry grassland, and as you can see, the only landmarks to speak of are the cattle stock tanks. These tanks are essentially circular, large, metal, outdoor swimming pools, some as wide as 30 feet across. The tanks are placed on some of the higher hills with a windmill powered pump to keep the tank full of fresh water. Cattle are then let loose on the land to graze on grass and drink from the tanks.
Over time the cattle wear down paths in the grass leaving only dusty trails concentrated around the tanks. I am speculating here a bit, but my theory is that rainfall then follows these trails down the hills and creates the strange, vein like lines through the grass. I don't know how long the area has been used for keeping cattle, but my father grew up here and will be able to tell me more later.
The final image is of the developed farm land a little closer to civilization. Most people don't know this, but Nebraskans are really into pie charts. Ok, that may be just me, these are are the patterns left by automatic springler systems. They are literally "crop circles" as corn and sugar beets are only planted within the area that the center pivot sprinkler can reach.
PS: These stock tanks are ripe with salamanders, but I still have yet to learn how they got in tanks in the first place? It's too dry to walk to the tanks, and they are pretty far from natural water anyway. There is a massive aquifer underneath all of this, maybe they get pumped up into the tanks? Can salamanders live in aquifers?