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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Daenerys has dragons that can mass produce Obsidian

I made the point recently on /r/gameofthrones that the dragons can make dragonglass.
Obsidian kills White Walkers, and obsidian is formed from lava. Dragonfire can melt stone and sand, as evidenced by Harrenhal. Dragons can turn sand into things that can kill White Walkers.
Somehow this was considered a "logical leap" and "video game logic" by some.

Which is ridiculous.

First, "Dragonglass" is just obsidian.
Dragonglass is a common name in Westeros for the substance known as obsidian, a form of volcanic glass.
Second, "Obsidian" is just "a hard, dark, glasslike volcanic rock formed by the rapid solidification of lava without crystallization."
It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows, where the chemical composition (high silica content) induces a high viscosity and polymerization degree of the lava.
Third, "Felsic Lava" can be produced at temperatures of 1200-1400 Fahrenheit if the chemical composition is correct.
Felsic Lava
 Felsic or silicic lavas such as rhyolite and dacite typically form lava spines, lava domes or "coulees" (which are thick, short lava flows) and are associated with pyroclastic (fragmental) deposits. Most silicic lava flows are extremely viscous, and typically fragment as they extrude, producing blocky autobreccias. The high viscosity and strength are the result of their chemistry, which is high in silica, aluminium, potassium, sodium, and calcium, forming a polymerized liquid rich in feldspar and quartz, and thus has a higher viscosity than other magma types. Felsic magmas can erupt at temperatures as low as 650 to 750 °C (1,202 to 1,382 °F). Unusually hot (>950 °C; >1,740 °F) rhyolite lavas, however, may flow for distances of many tens of kilometres, such as in the Snake River Plain of the northwestern United States.
Fourth, the question now becomes, is Dragonflame  hot enough to melt stone? Well, yes. This was done to make the dragonroads, the Black Wall of Volantis, and to thoroughly wreck Harrenhal. The color of the dragonfire of Dany's younger dragons indicates it is roughly 2000F give or take. More than enough to make Felsic Lava.

No leaps of logic, no video game logic, just a combination of the fantasy rules already established within the Game of Thrones setting (for example, "dragonflame is hot" and "dragonglass kills white walkers") and of real world science.

I'm not the first person to make the connection either
Dragonfire can be used to make more than just castle ruins, it can also turn sand to glass.  Dragonglass seems to be obsidian made with dragonfire instead of a volcano.   When lava rich in feldspar and quarts is cooled very quickly, there isn't enough time for the molecules to align neatly and form a crystal.  Instead, the molecules harden in a disordered fashion and become glass.  The resulting "volcano glass" is more commonly known as obsidian.  This is a distinct two step process.  First the rock is melted and becomes liquid and is then cooled quickly.  However, in certain cases this two step process happens very quickly and it seems the glass is produced in one step.  At the Trinity test site, it is not unusual to find what is called Trinitite or Trinity Glass.  During the bomb test the desert sand, composed mainly of quartz and feldspare with hints of other elements, was sucked up into the bomb blasts fireball, melted and cooled rapidly as it rained down.  It can be found in several colors depending on what trace elements are present, some types are even red when copper from near by electrical cables was brought into the mix.  It is mildly radio active.  This whole process can also happen when sand is struck by lightning.  The sand melts with the heat of the lightning then solidifies into glass very quickly.  It seems that there is no reason this shouldn't happen with dragonfire.  Interestingly, the temperature needed to melt rock and form obsidian is very close to the temperature needed to melt granite.  Seems like these dragons were made to conquer Westeros and create the weapons needed to rule Beyond the Wall.  If any one of the great dragons blew fire on sand or other glass-forming compounds, the sand would melt then harden quickly into the Walker-killing glass.
Hilariously, after I pointed all this out, the one who'd said
You got some heavy video game logic going on there.
Replied to my science with
In a fantasy world, yes I am going to assume that not everything in it is similar to the real world.
Now who's using video game logic? 

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