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Mar 26

Extra-especially geeky: The Physics of the Wall

 

In celebration of the upcoming new series of Game of Thrones, from ask.metafilter.com we present the following question:

The Wall, from Game of Thrones, based off George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series.

The Wall, from Game of Thrones, based off George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series.

Suppose there’s a 700-foot-high wall of ice sitting in an environment that resembles, for the sake of argument, Alaska. I have some questions about the physics and long-term stability of such a structure.

Say this wall does include a foundation and some low-level backbone of very large stones, but it’s mostly ice. While the air temperature is always below freezing, it’s not uncommon for there to be sunny days where the wall “weeps” with meltoff. Moreover, there are men patrolling the top of the wall, and the friction of their presence is enough to require at least some reconstruction and reapplication of gravel for footing, etc.My question is: would the wall be stable over a period of centuries, or even millenia? Or would the loss of mass from melting (and occasional Wildling attacks) eventually just whittle it down to a collection of frosty foundation stones? Would geologic activity result in cracks?
Now, we at Nearly Enough Dice promise you the Geeky, and what could be geekier?
I suggest you follow the thread and read the excellent replies therein.

1 comment

  1. Jesse

    SCIENCE!! Gotta love it.

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