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A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

In relation to natural resources..


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In the book Magician by Raymond E. Feist, a book I'm sure most of you are pretty well acquainted with, the Tsuarani world is almost devoid of natural metals because a civilisation had almost mined all of it before they had settled the world.

If there had been Age after Age before Randland's own Age, don't you think the world would be a little low on metal?

And yes, I get that a lot could have been taken from ruins etc, but seriously, thousands upon thousands of civilisations would have mined the world to find stone for building, metal for weapons etc, and we see no evidence of any replenishment during the Ages.

 

Thoughts?

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Out of the seven ages, we know quite a bit about the Third Age, some about the Second Age (of Legends), and that people could maybe use portal stones in the Age before that. Also a few snippets from the Fourth Age from footers at the end of books. That leaves three entire ages and most of two other ages we know nothing about. It could be that the breaking of the world between the Second and Third age isn't actually the biggest upheaval of the seven ages, and that one changed the landscape of the world in drastic ways. I'm not very knowledgeable about how metal and stone deposits and other natural resources are formed, but if ocean floors of one age become dry land in others and vice versa, perhaps over the course of several millenia some of it can replenish itself a bit.

 

Or magic. It could happen by magic.

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The Creator recycles...duh

Anyway it could be as simple as having metal from the surface going down into the earth every cycle because of some giant apocaliptical event in ways that gathers the metal and places it near the surface. Besides the only real massive use of metal is in the Age of Legends and possibly the age after this one. In the others they don't have the tech or the actual need for much metal.

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If it stays on the planet it will "be recycled". We don' even know though that its the same planet every rotating, just that the major events are pretty much always the same eah rotating.

Edited by rand4747
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Mankind has considerably less impact on the world than he thinks he does.

 

We're fleas, so far as the planet is concerned. No big thing.

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The Creator recycles...duh

Anyway it could be as simple as having metal from the surface going down into the earth every cycle because of some giant apocaliptical event in ways that gathers the metal and places it near the surface. Besides the only real massive use of metal is in the Age of Legends and possibly the age after this one. In the others they don't have the tech or the actual need for much metal.

 

There is a process called 'subduction' where the tectonic plates making up Earth's crust move together and one slides under the other. Material on the surface can be carried down into the mantle below the crust over time (and we're talking tens or hundreds of thousands of years at least). Later on, metals and suchlike could be erupted out of volcanoes and return to the surface that way.

Edited by FarShainMael
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Well you see my point is that there have been more than just the 4 or so rotations so far, there have been an infinite number.

Hence, you'd think that after thousands upon thousands of years we would have had some impact.

Whether we are fleas or not, a good hundred thousand years of constant mining (that is, Age of Legend style Ages, rather than Randland Ages) would have some effect on the metal content.

Now, even if the plates rotated and changed through different breakings and the like, there would still be a significant change in the percentage of metal that would be mineable by the time Rand's Age came about. There is only a certain amount of a world's layers which would be rotated to replenish resource supplies, and since the Turning of the Wheel is endless, either Rand's Age OR a distant Age would see the effects of this. Imagine that you're stirring flour to make a cake - the flour on the bottom will go to the top, then back to the bottom, then back to the top, but it's still the same flour.

This is all coming from the fact that Rand viewed many, many different lives of other "Dragons" in his transformation from Darth Rand to Zen Rand.

 

Please, geologists and scientists point out the flaws in my ideas.

 

 

P.S: I was under the distinct impression from various quotes from RJ himself that the Creator has no conscious effect upon the world.

 

Maybe it's replenished at the end of a turning.

Edited by CadeForeverfar
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It would have no impact whatsoever on the metal levels, unless materials were removed from the planet.

 

As for the amount of materials available in the earth's crust: The crust of the earth is between 35 and 75 km thick. The deepest mine ever dug is a shade less than 3.5 km.

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It would have no impact whatsoever on the metal levels, unless materials were removed from the planet.

 

As for the amount of materials available in the earth's crust: The crust of the earth is between 35 and 75 km thick. The deepest mine ever dug is a shade less than 3.5 km.

 

You see, this is the sortof reply I was looking for.

 

What if a major continent was created, brought to the surface and not submerged in water after a breaking, and so obviously becomes the new habited and civilised centro, but that continent was one previously mined diligently by many, many Ages?

You can say it won't happen, but please, humour me.

 

AND! I'm talking Age of Legends style. I'm almost definite they would have mined deeper than 3.5 km.

Edited by CadeForeverfar
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Again, what do you think happens to materials after they are mined? Except for what we have shot into space in the form of spacecraft and sattelites, it is all still here. And much of it has been returned to the earth. Steel rusts into piles of iron oxide that leach back into the ground, and may be mined again in some future age. Volcanic eruptions bring to the surface materials that have never before seen the light of day.

 

Unless we start shooting massive piles of the stuff into space, it is essentially impossible for the earth to "run out" of inorganic materials. Materials formed by organic processes, like fossil fuels, are obviously a different story.

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Again, what do you think happens to materials after they are mined? Except for what we have shot into space in the form of spacecraft and sattelites, it is all still here. And much of it has been returned to the earth. Steel rusts into piles of iron oxide that leach back into the ground, and may be mined again in some future age. Volcanic eruptions bring to the surface materials that have never before seen the light of day.

 

Unless we start shooting massive piles of the stuff into space, it is essentially impossible for the earth to "run out" of inorganic materials. Materials formed by organic processes, like fossil fuels, are obviously a different story.

 

We've realised that part, but what if a patch with very little minerals (say, it had no iron but plenty of stone) came to the surface during a

Breaking, and so became the main inhabited bit of land. There would obviously be some metal, and those sent up by volcanoes. The question was not why is there not ANY left, it was why is it impossible that there could be very little left in a large chunk of land recently uncovered? And then, how do you think civilisation could develop?

 

Different question now.

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So the question, essentially, is "Would civilization as we know it have developed in the absence of metals?"

 

I think we can agree that the answer is no. You'd be looking at something closer to pre-Columbian American civilizations.

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It would have no impact whatsoever on the metal levels, unless materials were removed from the planet.

 

As for the amount of materials available in the earth's crust: The crust of the earth is between 35 and 75 km thick. The deepest mine ever dug is a shade less than 3.5 km.

 

You see, this is the sortof reply I was looking for.

 

What if a major continent was created, brought to the surface and not submerged in water after a breaking, and so obviously becomes the new habited and civilised centro, but that continent was one previously mined diligently by many, many Ages?

You can say it won't happen, but please, humour me.

 

AND! I'm talking Age of Legends style. I'm almost definite they would have mined deeper than 3.5 km.

 

 

Who's to say the materials would be exactly the same... Humans are resourceful and nessisity is the mother of invention. There could potentiall be a turign of the wheel where steel is obsolete, and swords are fashioned from ceremics, and all buildings are built form stone or wood.

 

Its an excelent question but I think that the planet would create enough resources to provide some kind of sembalance of life and people would adapt accordingly.

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In the absence of metals, but with Saidar and Saidin, I would expect there would be a lot of power-wrought stone weapons (or porcelein, or wood). Like those used by the Tlan Imass in Steven Erikson's universe.

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Using the right techniques, various metals could probably be adapted from other materials; possibly from various kinds of rock.

 

Channelers might be able to directly create metal from Earth + Fire in right proportion.

 

The Delving Talent might help locate any natural metal that is left. The geographic principles of this world I take also apply to Randland.

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Ummmmm just because the metals have been mined doesn't mean they cease to exist. They are still around, somewhere. When a civilization mines all its metals, it will be short on metal. But if the whole civilization collapses and returns to primitive life? Those metal things that were built previously will be rusting and crumbling somewhere.

 

Imagine if New York City were buried during the breaking. Few thousand years and you have another mine.

 

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed. If we had 7,000,000 swords and no metal to make guns, does that mean we won't have guns? No, it just means we'll melt down our old swords and make new stuff out of them

Edited by Sylvan Fox
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but it wouldnt be similar to a standard mine... it wouldnt have iron ore / nickel / zink etc deposits... there would be a series of chunks of 'stuff' twisted by the breaking perhaps - exposed to considerable heat/cold/pressure etc but they would not revert to their natural state but largely remain their current composition (i.e. you would find compacted lumps of steel rather than iron ore as is usually mined)

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Maybe so. But then again, we've never buried a city for thousands of years. I can't imagine all that steel or any other metal would stay exactly the same forever. They undergo chemical changes even when we don't want them to. I have seen old things made of metal that were turning into rock-like chunks of rust, and they were from this century. Give it 3,000... or 80,000,000... years and it will bear no resemblence to any structure we would know and have a very different chemical composition- making it, if not the same thing, at least somewhat like ore. At least, even if it is big chunks of steel, it's still mineable.

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Don't forget that there is another type of recycling event - the Big Bang / Big Crunch. The universe as we know it starts with the Bsng, expands, reaches a maximum, collapses into a singularity - then goes Bang again, and eventually planets form with a virgin set of minerals and ores. I don't know whether the WoTverse includes an event such as this in its seven Ages.

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The Big Crunch is only theoretical in our universe, and it would be a leap to apply it to the Wheel of Time (mind, it may actually fit better within a cyclical timeframe). The Big Crunch is debateable due to the effect of "Dark Energy" which seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe, which it is theorized will simply fizzle out.

 

However, I don't think we know enough about the aspects of the WoT universe to make any cosmological claims.

 

I think the simplest answers are always the best, and assuming that at least 1 of the 7 ages ends in a massive geographic upheavel (although I'm not sure if 'The Breaking' and the tainting of saidin is common), the churned earth would provide that which was buried, while that which was present topside would be swallowed and recycled in the mantle.

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I personally do believe that the destruction of the world & recreation of the world are part of the WoT. It would explain why there is no channeling right now (nobody has evolved far enough to be able to channel), how it's possible for humans to evolve in general, how it's possible that there's a time without humans, how natural resources are replenished, etc.

 

I don't know if this includes the destruction of the universe as well, but it might. Who knows, maybe humans in the 6th or 7th age have settled all across the universe and during some test with the OP they might accidently cause the big crunch... (it wouldn't affect the pattern though)

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