View Full Version : Ringworld: Vast Shallow Seas

2010-Dec-10, 02:40 AM
Without plate tectonics and the formation of new crust, would not Ringworld turn into a vast shallow sea in a few million years as erosion took over?

I suppose you could make a Ringworld arid, but that would only slow down the process.

2010-Dec-10, 03:07 AM
Niven retconned the mechanics of the ringworld in the sequels to cover those issues.

Van Rijn
2010-Dec-10, 08:16 AM
The scrith (the super-material that formed the backbone of the ringworld) was shaped for the water and land areas. Given long enough, all the soil and rock would erode off of the higher scrith and probably fill in a good bit of the sea areas, raising water levels. You'd probably have mostly seas and marsh until you reach higher areas which might be uncovered scrith. Assuming the ringworld survived that long - there was a serious danger to it (I won't go into details, because it is a significant plot point).

Anyway, as mentioned, in a later book (I think Ringworld Engineers) there were provisions made for maintenance, but with the fall of civilization, that stop. But in this story, Pak engineers got the old hardware going, and were shuffling material around (for instance, rock falling at the base of mountains was moved back up. Soil accumulating at the bottom of seas and oceans were picked up and put back on the hills where it had come from.)

2010-Dec-10, 03:09 PM
After a few million years you might get bored an move on or turn it into a full Dyson Sphere anyway....

2010-Dec-13, 06:44 AM
Protector-stage hominids don't get bored. Their brains aren't wired that way-- in Protector, Phthsspok sat nearly immobile for millenia with minimal life support, just waiting. Since the Ringworld is now overrun with native Protectors whose obsession is the survival of their bloodlines, unless there's another outside disruption or loss of Tree-Of-Life, they will keep the Ringworld in its current mobile configuration to use it as a lifeboat from the Galactic Core Explosion-- the same reason the Puppeteers were interested in it in the first place.