[LMB] Betan Earthquake preparedness

Anthony de Boer adb at adb.ca
Sun Apr 17 23:27:01 BST 2016

M. Haller Yamada wrote:
> Will a Survey team ever be able to completely survey a planet before settling? 
> Sure, major old faults should be quite visible, even with today's tech. But will 
> they be able to map new, developing faults before they get dangerous? 
> And how long would it take to completely survey a planet. 
> GJ&RQ is still in the spoiler-zone but I don't think it's spoilery to speculate 
> that the planet was not fully surveyed before the Barrayarans started moving in. 
> Example: Kareenberg. Maybe the Betans refused to share technology, or the 
> Barrayarans were too proud (or too short-sighted, or too stoic about natural 
> disasters) to ask for a "complete survey." Assuming one would have been 
> developed. 

In the earliest novels, there were secret military base(s) on that
planet, so a very very good chance you don't want anyone else to be
orbiting good sensors around there.  And then there was that regrettable
war, and not being in good odor with the Betans and Escobarans until
probably much much later.

Cordelia's earlier expedition would have been partway into surveying all
that, but possibly they got run off too early in that effort to have
been able to identify all the potential issues.  And whether Beta would
have shared the data if she eventually asked for it, hmmmm.

(It also occurs to me that had Beta known it was a short hop from
Escobar and being used as a staging point for the invasion, a side
counterattack through the survey route might have been in order, but it
appears Cordelia neglected to include that bit of data because she had
heard it from Aral as a confidence.)

>  ... The edge of a tectonic plate has a lot of benefits. The proper 
> side of a mountain range (marking the edge of tectonic plates) may be one of the 
> few places that rain falls and gathers on Beta. Also, volcanic activity often 
> brings fertility to an area, and rich minerals from the depths of the earth. 
> Think about greedy (or needy) developers: they are balancing easy access to rich 
> resources vs. the possiblity of a once-in-XXX-years major disaster. Do they 
> gamble? Do they really think about future generations who have to abandon the 
> resources and facilities developed by their ancestors? 

If the land is fertile but threatened with natural disasters, then better
forecasting, or building to resist earthquakes, or survival gear for
volcanic eruptions, or the ability to quickly evacuate, might let an
appropriately-trained minimal population still work that land.  But
cities that can be somewhere more stable should be.

> ...  But, I don't think it'll solve everything, especially something as 
> complex as earthquake prediction. I hope I'm wrong, of course! But if science 
> could do something like that, the V-verse would be a very different place. I 
> don't see how rebels could hide in the mountains, if the Cetas had the ability to 
> quickly survey a planet to such a detailed extent.

I think Piotr gives Cordelia and Bothari the answer when he comes out
of retirement to do it again during the Pretendership: there are so many
farmers and children and livestock and wild animals up in the mountains
that the ability to spot all the lifeforms on a scanner doesn't tell you
which few are the Resistance.

(Nowadays though you'd hook that scanner to a computer and see which
ones showed non-innocent movement patterns over time.)

Anthony de Boer

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