[LMB] Betan Earthquake preparedness

anmar Caver anmar.mirza at gmail.com
Tue Apr 19 13:03:01 BST 2016

On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 7:15 AM, Karen Hunt <huntkc at gmail.com> wrote:

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

Generally speaking humans have evolved to utilize certain partial pressures
of oxygen.  You can increase the O2 partial pressure by increasing the
percentage of oxygen in a lower pressure situation, or you can increase the
overall pressure in a lower O2 PP situation, though the latter has certain
physiological effects depending on the other gases making up the
atmosphere.  Since the Vor universe is only set a few hundred years in the
future, natural evolution of humans would not have proceeded along enough
to mean that wherever humans went and colonized they would have anything
but a near Earth normal atmosphere along with them either artificially or
not. (leaving out what tinkering such as by the Cetas or places like
Jackson's Whole may have done).

> 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.

My misremembering then, I thought Beta required the rebreathers.  Free
oxygen presents an issue with the construction of any desert world if there
is not significant plant life because it does not take long for free oxygen
to combine and become locked away with various minerals.

> 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):

While canyons can be caused by running water, they can also be caused by a
number of other mechanisms, but the planet having had running water in the
past is probable.

> 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
> days.
> 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 don't insist on my model either, but these things have always bothered me
in any SF setting, when the "world" simply cannot exist as presented.  Not
that there is some subtle actor at play allowing the world to exist, but
that it simply violates all possibilities.  It's the same reason I have
trouble watching action/adventure movies, too much of my mind is screaming
"that is not how it works" to be able to suspend disbelief.

> 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)
A lifelong and all consuming passion for caving gave me an appreciation of
petrology (study of sedimentary rocks) at an early age.  Hydrology and
karst geology weremy playground, literally.  Then as an adult I started
learning everything I could about general geology, and as an undergrad I
took a lot of geology though it wasn't my major.  The most fascinating of
them all was structural geology and geomorphology.

When we take a family vacation I bore my partners to tears enthusing about
the geology of wherever we are and we always come back with the car or
truck full of rocks, many of which are being used in the block walls of the
new house I am building.  The irony is that one of my partners just took on
teaching Earth Science part time at a local community college after her
real job where her background is microbiology.  Last year she would be
reading something trying to stay ahead of her class and going on about how
neat some aspect of geology was and I'd tell her I know, and I tried to
explain it to her on a vacation previously.  Like when we had an
opportunity to stop at a state park in Colorado which has an exposure of
the K-T boundary (now K-Pg) and I was stopping at road cuts to get a chunk
of rock from the event.  Both my partners had to listen on the entire two
week trip out west about how excited I was to see it, and when we got there
they couldn't understand why I was so thrilled about seeing a two inch
layer of rock. Now she's always raiding my pictures and rocks and minerals
for her class.

Anmar Mirza EMT, N9ISY, NCRC National Coordinator, RBNC President

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