November 29th, 2009

How would salt flats react to blood. A lot of it.

I need to know how a natural salt flat might react to a great deal of blood after a gunfight, where something like a dozen or twenty people are killed and left to bleed out. What would the blood do to the salt and would it linger in the salt for a few days or a few weeks.


The setting is the Salar de Uyuni of Bolivia, in the immediate future. The weapons used would likely be standard military assault weapons in possession of a Latin American military.


I was a geologist by training so I have looked at the way salt responds to liquid, but most of what I can find in my text books has to do with water and in particular flowing water. Most of it to be frank is based on my knowledge of petroleum geology ... which was never my specialty (not to mention very rusty) and relates mostly to water in salt domes, not salt flats. I am mostly concerned about the relative viscosity of blood to water... and the relatively small amounts of blood compared to the amount of water that the geology sources I'm looking at refer to.

I've google searched but as you can imagine, searches for blood and salt come up with health information no matter how many qualifiers I try to put around the salt. I've looked also using google for possible information from accident discriptions at Bonneville Salt Flats, but those have been quite a bit less gory in their descriptives than to talk about the subject.

Indoor Natural Gas Explosion


I've taken a gander through the previous entries, but didn't find anything similar, so I thought I'd ask ...

I am trying to discover how long it takes for natural gas being pumped (the main gas valve on a stove being opened fully, and the burners opened) into a 26' x 12' room with 12' ceilings and standard ventilation to get to a point where an electrical spark can ignite it. I know the gas rises, and it takes very little actual gas to become a hazard, but how long would it take time-wise? A few seconds? A couple of minutes?

The story is set 50 years in the future, and we're assuming the gas lines and industrial gas stoves haven't changed significantly from today's.

I've Googled: Natural gas leaks, natural gas hazards, calculating vapor pressure, natural gas safety, natural gas psi, natural gas explosions, natural gas fires.

Thanks for any help you can give!

Saturn-like planet + satellite

I want to set my alien civilisation on the satellite of a planet similar to Saturn, rings and all. Think Titan in tems of size, tilt, etc. I need to know what to expect in terms of days/years. I mean, how would an observer on the satellite's surface percieve a revolution of the satellite around the planet and a revolution of the planet around the sun? Assuming the satellite has a synchronous orbit, how would that factor in?

I tried googling various combinations of Titan, habitability, colonization, living on Titan's surface, etc. I got a lot of articles on the possibility or not of mining on Titan, the composition of the atmosphere, the difficulty of getting pictures of the surface, etc, but nothing about what I need.

Can anyone point my towards a good article, or, hell, a novel?