[LMB] Betan Earthquake preparedness

Karen Hunt huntkc at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 12:15:31 BST 2016

On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 6:12 AM, A. Marina Fournier <saffronrose at me.com>

> On Apr 18, 2016, at 7:01 PM, anmar.mirza at gmail.com wrote:
> >
> >> On Apr 16, 2016, at 8:11 AM, Peter Newman <pnewman at gci.net> wrote:
> >>
> >> On the other hand maybe Beta Colony isn’t that tectonically active to
> begin with.
> >
> > It is unlikely to be so.  A desert world most probably would not have
> the kind of plate tectonics that drive basaltic seafloor spreading,
> subduction zones, continental accretions, and the bringing up of water from
> deep in the mantle that keeps oceans active across the geological life of a
> planet.  That plus tectonic activity tends to keep atmospheres alive and
> the textev is Beta only has the barest of atmospheres.

Well... textev nerd mode activated...

2nd paragraph of Shards of Honor:
Commander Cordelia Naismith glanced at her team botanist and adjusted the
straps of her biological collecting equipment a bit more comfortably before
continuing her breathless climb. She pushed a long tendril of fog-dampened
copper hair out of her eyes, clawing it impatiently toward the clasp at the
nape of her neck. Their next survey area would definitely be at a lower
altitude. The gravity of this planet was slightly lower than their home
world of Beta Colony, but it did not quite make up for the physiological
strain imposed by the thin mountain air.

Also, both Shards and The Warrior's Apprentice have people walking outside
without masks (though they need rebreathers and/or nose filters in the
summer, it would seem - air too hot, too much dust). On the other side of
things, they lack oceans, and that's no small problem to have.

Interestingly, there is a place on Beta called Hogarth Canyon, which makes
me think more running water happened in the past (_Barrayar_, chapter 1,
Aral and Cordelia speaking):
He paused, choosing his words. "When the late Crown Prince Serg called
Count Vortala a phoney progressive, it wasn't altogether nonsense. Insults
that sting always have some truth in them. Count Vortala has been trying to
form his progressive party in the upper classes only. Among the people who
matter, as he would say. You see the little discontinuity in his thinking?"

"About the size of Hogarth Canyon back home? Yes."

So textev does give Beta enough air to breathe without aid; it even has an
oxygen atmosphere. I've worked on the idea that it's an old world, slowly
dying as its sun heats up. Plate tectonics grinding down to a halt, lots of
water lost to the heat, etc. The good oxygen levels would be from past days
when it had more native life on it than "currently". Not the most wonderful
place to put a colony, but nobody could be very choosy in pre-wormhole-jump

I don't insist on the idea; I'd be content with a claim that there are
plenty of native animals to be found (underground, closer to poles, very
very heat-and-low-water adapted, whatever), and whatever other theories
might work....

I had no idea!
> > (sorry, geologist nerd mode activated)
> Please be as much as a geology nerd as you want, around me. I've always
> been fascinated by tectonic geology. I met relatively mild quakes early on,
> and took an interest in mostly tectonic geology equally early.

I concur! I have only a 1-semester college geology course under my belt
(plus interested layman reading), and I like opportunities to learn more.
(the course did come with a field trip going along the San Andreas Fault)

Karen Hunt

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list