Author Topic: Spire dimensions?  (Read 2681 times)

Offline SpoonR

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Spire dimensions?
« on: February 20, 2016, 10:38:16 PM »
So, spire Albion is roughly a soup can 2 miles tall and 2 miles wide. But, is it a soup can on a stick (all habbles are well above ground level), just a soup can on ground, or is part of the spire underground?

Having underground habbles might explain where some of the raw materials come from. On the other hand, was it just surface critters that are dangerous, or is/was there something bad in the atmosphere when the spires were built (meaning you need the spire to start above the bad stuff, but maybe slowly fixed via terraforming)?  If you continue the ramp and the center pillar, you could have a ground entrance well below the bottom habble.

I think what I'm most wondering about is atmospheric pressure. If the spire sat on the ground, then the bottom is at sea level while the top is 10,000 feet - aka passing out without oxygen tank level.  So are we talking a planet with a lot more oxygen, or something causing the pressure to be the same up to airship heights (super ginormous planet?), or is it instead of 0 to 10,000 feet  it is actually 25k to 35k. Then you definitely need human tweaking to let them survive at all, but it would be a much smaller relative difference.

I guess if half of it is underground, you would have from -5000 feet (not as deep as the TauTona mine) to +5000 (Denver, so pretty livable)
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 10:41:37 PM by SpoonR »

Offline decibelCooper

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2016, 07:34:39 AM »
Hi SpoonR,

I'm not sure how the spire actually couples to the ground, but I could speculate on a couple things with you without going back through the book.

I was under the impression that it is essentially a soup can on the ground, though I speculate that either the habbles don't really reach the ground, or the ground-level habbles are uninhabited.  At some point the book mentions how much of the spire is actually inhabited, but I don't recall.

As for the atmosphere... The book at some point describes [Ee]arth.  I can't remember if it's used as a proper noun or not, though I chose to view the planet at that point as very Earth-like.  Given that choice, I beg to differ about the oxygen deprivation experienced at 2 miles altitude.  I believe that is an altitude that can be readily adapted to.  If not by any Joe Shmoe, it could at least be adapted to through generations.  If you look into Everest climbs, I think you'll find that the local people can ascend to significantly greater altitude than the visiting climbers can without enriching the air they breathe with oxygen.  The sheer statistics involved in bonding oxygen molecules with hemoglobin with low O2 partial pressure are inescapable, but I believe the ways our bodies react to different oxygen concentrations in the blood can vary.  My guess is that Dina knows way more about this than I do =).

As you have touched on with the comment about more oxygen vs more pressure, it is the oxygen partial pressure that's important (i.e., the pressure due only to oxygen molecules).  Atmospheric pressure vs altitude quite fairly precisely follows an exponential decay curve.  However, partial pressures are more complex (e.g., ozone layer).  I wonder if perhaps the high water pressure (mist) in the lower atmosphere affects the oxygen pressure in a way favorable for the altitudes you are talking about?

It's fun to speculate about =).

Offline vultur

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2016, 02:03:09 AM »
Given that choice, I beg to differ about the oxygen deprivation experienced at 2 miles altitude.  I believe that is an altitude that can be readily adapted to.  If not by any Joe Shmoe, it could at least be adapted to through generations.

Yes; with specific genetic adaptations, Tibetan and Andean people can live at over 3 miles, though that's extreme even for those regions.

El Alto, Bolivia, is over 2.5 miles and has a population of over 900,000 - but again those are mostly Andean people adapted to the altitude.

IIRC 8000 feet is considered to be usually/generally safe for most people (airliner cabins are required to have at least that pressure; IIRC modern ones tend to have more pressure) though it can still be a problem for people with certain medical conditions.
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If you look into Everest climbs, I think you'll find that the local people can ascend to significantly greater altitude than the visiting climbers can without enriching the air they breathe with oxygen. 

I believe so, too; I know the Tibetan and Andean peoples have genetic adaptations to low pressure/oxygen, so the Sherpa probably also do.


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As you have touched on with the comment about more oxygen vs more pressure, it is the oxygen partial pressure that's important (i.e., the pressure due only to oxygen molecules).

At the pressures we're talking about, yes; at lower pressures, the total pressure matters too, which is why spacesuits use more than 4 psi oxygen (even though the partial pressure of oxygen at sea level is about 3 psi).


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However, partial pressures are more complex (e.g., ozone layer).

Not really. The Earth's atmosphere is extremely well-mixed up to near space altitudes (50 miles or so). Even the ozone layer has only a few parts per million of ozone - vastly more than elsewhere, but not enough to change the overall composition meaningfully.

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I wonder if perhaps the high water pressure (mist) in the lower atmosphere affects the oxygen pressure in a way favorable for the altitudes you are talking about?

I don't think so.

Offline pamswann

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 11:38:30 PM »
The book talks about how many never leave their birth habble. But I can travel to Colorado to visit cities and towns above 10,000ft. I may want to take a day to acclimate, but it's no biggie. Climbing stairs or taking a slow ship up, again , acclimate and no biggie. I took the round to be artistic not to be an actual architectural feature. (Spire as a word is usually about the point on the top) My vision was like the Washington monument on super steroids. Now about the clear stone he mentions, where is it and how much of the spire is made of it?

Offline Chupathingy

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2016, 04:42:14 AM »
It seems to me to be implied that the spire touches the ground and that all habbels are above ground level when Addison tells Grimm that he expects POW's to be sent down to work at the base of the spire.

With regards to altitudes and atmospheric mixing it can be as one poster mentioned a little complex.

The FAA requires suplamental oxygen for the minimum flight crew members opporating at or above cabin pressures altitudes of 12,500' MSL for 30min or longer. Minimum flight crew operating above cabin pressure altitudes above 14,000' MSL for any time. All occupants above cabin pressure altitudes of 15,000'. (14 CFR 91.211) now obviously there are people who live much of their lives above 2miles and some people are living a fair bit higher then that. I have personally spent a good amount of time (months at a time) higher then 11,500' and have climbed above 14,000 on numerous occasions. In general anyone can acclimatize to a wide range of altitudes initiall acclimatization taking about 48hrs and full acclimatization taking something like a week. However somewhere around about 18,000'-21,000' (if I am recalling accurately) you start to see metabolic efficiency drop off and people litterally starve to death. So assuming modern earth like atmospheres we could allow for the lowest levels of our two mile soup can to be as high as a mile and a half above sea/surface level.

When it comes to atmospheric mixing there are two or perhaps three main variables depending on how you want to distinguish between them. The first is water vapor which is incredibly variable in our atmosphere. The second is temperature profiles also quite variable especially in lower atmospheres. There tends to be very little mixing across a couple of boundary heights due to the interplay of these two factors. When I am reading the books I tend to think that the mists represent one of these structural boundaries perhaps analogous to the tropopause but existing much lower in the atmosphere. The third factor are Hadley/feral cells which do mix the upper and lower atmospheres.

Offline Quantus

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 02:03:28 PM »
What part of the atmosphere of Cinder Spires in any way seems to adhere to earth-like characteristics, exactly?  The mists layer with all the giant predators, or the strange chemical composition that apparently eats away iron in a matter of days?   :P
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Offline Chupathingy

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2016, 04:27:46 PM »
Well esthetic energy and giant monsters are obviously a fantasy element but it appears to generally be amenable to a set of regular laws and other physical principles seems to remain in effect. Therefore one would expect general atmospheric structures to also exist. Like for instance a structural thermocline could easily explain the mist layer. As for the rust problem I assume that is an interplay between the conduction of eathric energy and high atmospheric moisture.

Offline Quantus

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 06:09:31 PM »
Well esthetic energy and giant monsters are obviously a fantasy element but it appears to generally be amenable to a set of regular laws and other physical principles seems to remain in effect. Therefore one would expect general atmospheric structures to also exist. Like for instance a structural thermocline could easily explain the mist layer. As for the rust problem I assume that is an interplay between the conduction of eathric energy and high atmospheric moisture.
Fair enough, those are all reasonable.  But a different planet, which is a distinct possibility in several variations, could easily have much different critical altitudes, oxygen ratio's etc.  Even without it, given the vast differences there are between our earth and the world presented in TAW, would indicate at the very least some sort of cataclysmic event to explain them, which would just as easily alter those same critical altitudes, oxygen ratio's etc. on a global level. Just pointing out that basically everything is in question until we get more info, even the sort of planetary constants we can usually count on. 


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Offline Chupathingy

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Re: Spire dimensions?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 06:20:12 AM »
I take your meaning. We are speculating on a fictional world with relatively little cannon material. I'm not attempting nit pick or anything if the next book comes out and the spires a 100 miles high or 1000 cause more air or magic it won't break my enjoyment of the books at all. That said I think that Mr. Butcher has shown in his past writing to be inclined to stick as close to normal physics as the core fantasy assumptions allow. For instance the eathric technology/energy is apparently subject to both laws of conservation and some form of thermodynamics.