National Geographic : 1897 May
154 APPLIED PHYSIOGRAPHY IN SOUTH CAROLINA the land may yet for a short time furnish a rather poor meadow, since comparatively little of the rich alluvial surface has yet been covered by the sand, most of which has been disposed of in filling the stream channel. It is as though the stream realized its in ability to directly attack the surface at first and so turned its attention to preparations for a more effective attack a little later by filling its channel with sand and thus placing itself in a posi tion to rapidly complete the work of destruction when it has once actively begun. When it has built up its bed almost even with the flood-plain surface level this work of preparation ends and the work of direct destruction begins. Every overflow now cuts channels that lead away from the main stream, and spread sand far and wide over the plain, burying the fertile soil. As the depth of the sand increases, the flood-plain becomes more barren, until it is finally a waste of. sand thinly overgrown with nettles and other sand-loving plants, while willows fringe the branching channels of the wandering stream, and here and there along the margins of the wasted plain and in other chance low places water collects and forms marshes that are soon overgrown with reeds and rushes. The cycle of destruction is now complete. Thus in some sections much of the formerly fertile " bottom land " has already been abandoned as worthless, much more can scarcely be cultivated profitably, while but little is so favorably situated as to escape entirely the ruinous effect of the continual clean cultivation of the hill slopes. The remedy for this destruction is so simple and self-evident to the student as hardly to require statement; the cotton crop must be rotated with some crop that will furnish an abundance of root fibers to hold the soil together and prevent it from wash ing, and the hill slopes must be terrace-plowed. If this is done the degradation of the hill fields and the aggradation on the bottom fields will be checked; if this is not done all the most fertile land will soon become but barren wastes. Mention may be made of a lake of aggradation of the Red river (Louisiana) family, to be found in the northwestern part of Fairfield county, S. C., since it is due to the same general cause. From a broad open valley there runs back into the upland a broad side valley that contained a weak stream draining but a small area. When the master stream began aggrading, it set a pace with which the side stream could not keep up. Its mouth was sealed up, and it was forced to lake itself before gaining an exit, thus covering to a depth of eight or ten feet a considerable area that before the war had been planted in corn.