Katie's Journal

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My Tugboat Picture

by @ 11:07 am on August 3, 2006.


This morning was beastly hot, and near 100% humidity as I walked my hounds along the Mon River. I had been hoping to get a good shot of a Tugboat pushing barges for my lecture on physical distribution. I had tried unsuccessfully earlier this summer, but today I got what I wanted. The picture is a little steamy in the background, but clear as a bell up front. In any event, it shows how the aggregate and coal-filled barges are transported.

In this picture the tugboat is bringing empty barges to be filled, and will take the filled barges back in a never-ending cycle. You can see the filled barges in the foreground, ready to be taken down river. But how do I know the barges in front of the tugboat are empty?


The answer is a simple one. Look at these barges filled with coal. Note how much of each barge is above water. Now compare that with the empty barges in front of the tugboat. The difference in the water line is striking.

Obviously you could not transport raw materials like this on rough water. The barges would swamp and sink very quickly. But rivers are almost never choppy. And yet, two barges sank in the Monongahela River not far from this spot just a few weeks ago. I have no idea what caused the River to be riley enough to swamp the barges, but sure enough it did.

Source: Bob Cook

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