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Author Topic: Horses dangling from steeple
Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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Here's a reference from wikipedia to a tall tale I remember my old geography teacher telling us, to help illustrate the snow melting properties of the chinook wind.

quote:
A man rode his horse to church, only to find just the steeple sticking out of the snow. So, he tied his horse to the steeple with the other horses, and went down the snow tunnel to attend services. When everybody emerged from the church, they found that a chinook had melted all of the snow, and their horses were now all dangling from the church steeple.
Does anyone have any other references to the legend?

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"You learn something new every day if you're not careful" - Wilf Lunn

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Electrotiger
Deck the Malls


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I knew this sounded familiar:

A tall tale from The Baron?

I'm pretty sure there is another image of this tale, a woodcut of a similar scene, but I wasn't able to find it online anywhere.

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Mr. Sagan did not go too fars, If you just took the time to scan its,
You'd count billions and billions of stars, And billions and billions of planets.

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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The story is told in The Adventures of Baron Münchausen, but apparently it's from an older source.

quote:

Also from older sources is derived the story in which he ties his horse to a stake during a heavy snow storm. In the morning, the snow has melted and the horse is dangling from a high steeple.



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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Horses dangling from the steeple's peak,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Christmas is coming, it's less than a week,
So we better get them mounts unfroze!

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I don't believe it. To be hard enough to ride a horse on, the snow must by packed solid. Packed snow is not easily melted.

Earlier this year, we had a late autumn snow storm here. The plough left a 1.5 m (5 feet) high pile of snow outside my house (which more or less crushed my bushes, thank you soooo effing much). Then the weather got warmer, and it was 10-15 degrees Celcius, well above freezing, and almost constant heavy rain, yet it still took almost a month for that pile of snow to melt.

So, unless you put a nuclear explosion to that snow buried church, no horses will be dangling after the service. In fact, I think that even with a nuclear explosion, there would be no dangling horses.

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/Troberg

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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And somebody would have noticed the thumping hooves!

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Electrotiger:
I knew this sounded familiar:

A tall tale from The Baron?

I'm pretty sure there is another image of this tale, a woodcut of a similar scene, but I wasn't able to find it online anywhere.

Cheers for the info on Baron Munchausen, Electrotiger and Floater - the online version of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen has the woodcuts (by Gustav Dore, no less), including the horse hanging from steeple in Chapter 2.

So it looks like the legend was an updated version of an age-old folk tale.

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"You learn something new every day if you're not careful" - Wilf Lunn

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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Okay, I'll say it ...

And that's how the first steeple chase happened.

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"Well, it looks we're on our own ... again."--Rev. Lovejoy

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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If the wind melted that amount of snow wouldn't the church become flooded?

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Andrew, Ware, England

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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Assume the church is a small church and the steeple is 6 meters in the air. Assume the snow is well packed (like Troberg pointed out) and is 33% as dense as an equivilent amount of water. Assume the church sits on about 1/4 acre (1000m2 . This means that a 6m column of snow in the church's lot equals 6,000m3 of snow or 2,000m3 of equivilent ice. 1m3 of ice is 1,000,000 cc of ice or 900,000 grams of ice (density of .9 g/cc). This means there is about 1,800,000,000 g of ice equivilant on the church's lot.

To melt 1 gram of water requires 80 calories. To melt 1,800,000,000 would require 144,000,000,000 calories or 602,899,200 kJ. Air has a specific heat of about 1 kJ per kg per °C. Assuming that all the air that comes into contact with the snow instantly transfers all the heat difference into the snow and assuming that the air is at 25°C (balmy), we would need 24,115,968 kG of air to melt all that snow. At a density of about 1 kG/m3 that would be 24,115,968 m3 of air.

Assuming that all the air 1m above the snow is able to magically instantly transfer the heat to the snow, the volume over the 1000m2 church lot would need to be changed 24,116 times during the church service in order to melt that much snow. Assuming the church service lasts 6 hours, that is over 4,000 changes per hour. Assuming a side of 32m, that means that the wind speed must be 128 kph or 80 mph in order to melt the snow.

Considering that a hurricane begins when the wind hits 116 kph, I think the churchgoers might notice a bit of breeze during the service.

Even adding the sun's radiation doesn't do much. Assuming that 100% of solar radiation is absorbed by the snow (totally unrealistic as anyone who's experienced sun on snow) would give us 1.98 cal/cm2/min. Over 6 hours and 1000m2 this would be 71,280,000 calories. That means that instead of the air producing 144,000,000,000 calories, it would only have to produce 143,928,720,000 calories.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Horse Chestnut
Happy Holly Days


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Those must have been some strong reins.
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kit_n_caboodle
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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GenYus, please review your calculations: you have not allowed for the fact that a Chinook wind is also very dry. I have personally experienced the fast disappearance (not melting) of snow during a Chinook.

When I lived in Calgary as a university student, I remember many times walking through snow to get to class, and coming out of class a couple of hours later to be surrounded by dry brown grass. The snow hadn't melted - it was just gone!

But maybe that would be offset by the fact that there is no solar radiation to contribute to the heating of the air (as you included in your post). Another feature of a Chinook is the low cloud cover, save for the clear sky under the Chinook Arch. The sun only comes through at the end of the day, as it is setting.

Please don't take this as a defence of this tall tale. I am in no way saying that it could have happened. Because didn't everyone in those days have to walk in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways? "Horses?? In my day we didn't have no fancy horses."

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Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Good grief GenYus, did you actually like story problems as a kid?

Freak. [Wink]

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by kit_n_caboodle:
GenYus, please review your calculations: you have not allowed for the fact that a Chinook wind is also very dry. I have personally experienced the fast disappearance (not melting) of snow during a Chinook.

That would make the calculations even more ridiculous. The latent heat to melt 1 g of ice is 80 calories. The latent heat to evaporate 1 g of ice is 540 calories. So evaporating (or subliming) the snow into water vapor would take much more heat than simply melting it would.

quote:
When I lived in Calgary as a university student, I remember many times walking through snow to get to class, and coming out of class a couple of hours later to be surrounded by dry brown grass. The snow hadn't melted - it was just gone!
That is more possible. Using the numbers as I did them above, a Chinook at 30 mph for 2 hours could sublime about 10cm of snow. But there are still some severe assumptions like 100% heat transferal.

quote:
But maybe that would be offset by the fact that there is no solar radiation to contribute to the heating of the air (as you included in your post). Another feature of a Chinook is the low cloud cover, save for the clear sky under the Chinook Arch. The sun only comes through at the end of the day, as it is setting.

With the speed of melt required, the solar radiation was insignificant.

quote:
Please don't take this as a defence of this tall tale. I am in no way saying that it could have happened. Because didn't everyone in those days have to walk in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways? "Horses?? In my day we didn't have no fancy horses."

No problem. Just addressing your points.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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GenYus
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quote:
Originally posted by Little Pink Pill:
Good grief GenYus, did you actually like story problems as a kid?

Freak. [Wink]

What?

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
quote:
Originally posted by Little Pink Pill:
Good grief GenYus, did you actually like story problems as a kid?

Freak. [Wink]

What?
Your post read like the answer on a math test to a story problem so complicated I would have skipped it.

I'm dreadful at that sort of thing, so read "freak" as "smart person good at things that give me a headache." It was a compliment. Really. [Smile]

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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GenYus
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I know. I was trying to pretend like I was such an uber geek that I wouldn't realize that not everyone likes story problems.

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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Mistletoey Chloe
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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"Pretend." R-i-i-i-i-ght.

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~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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Mmm hmm, whateeeever you say.

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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Floater
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
Assume the church is a small church and the steeple is 6 meters in the air ...

You have missed one very important factor in your calculations. A Chinook is a North American phenomenon and this story takes place in Central Europe.

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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Don Enrico
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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There are more ULs based on the Baron's tales - at least two more that I know of.

If you know even more, post them here.

Don Enrico

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My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling, but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places. - Pooh Bear

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DaGuyWitBluGlasses
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Not saying its to the extremes of the story but:

The wind doesn't have to melt the snow, it jsut has to dry out the snow so that the snow is no longer sticking to itself and blow it away.
(Imagine turning flurries into powder)

And once airborne, the snow spreading out (i.e. each litre of air is trying to melt less snow,) and of course the increase of exposed surfaces compared to mass facilitates the transfer of heat to the snow)

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
The wind doesn't have to melt the snow, it jsut has to dry out the snow so that the snow is no longer sticking to itself and blow it away.
Snow just doesn't work that way. If it's wet, it either melts or freeze to a hard snow, it will not turn to dust.

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/Troberg

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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quote:
Originally posted by Floater:
You have missed one very important factor in your calculations. A Chinook is a North American phenomenon and this story takes place in Central Europe.

I was just showing the improbability of it being physically possible to melt that much snow that quickly. I wasn't claiming it was a comprehensive analysis of the UL. Talk to David or Barbara for that.

Oh, and Chloe and LPP? P-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-t [Razz]

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IIRC, it wasn't the shoe bomber's loud prayers that sparked the takedown by the other passengers; it was that he was trying to light his shoe on fire. Very, very different. Canuckistan

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