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Thread: Lava mining?

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    Default Lava mining?

    Yes I'm aware that so far most if not all of my posts so far have been about lava. I write and I'm kinda a pyro. Dx And while most of the events/processes in my story would still fall under "magic", which I just define as shit our limited human minds just don't get, I don't feel comfortable unless I have a somewhat potentially plausible semi-pseudoscientific explanation for things. So....is there any known way to mine metals and/or minerals from molten lava? If not, what could be a somewhat potentially plausible semi-pseudoscientic way?

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    In general, it's much easier to dig out a ore vein than try to get it from a lava flow, so it's not something people really go and do.

    Plausible semi-pseudoscientic way: *handwaves* Have an active volcano with defined lava channels. Have a method of diverting a large flow of lava into a controlled area and let it cool. Perhaps giant stone gates that divert it down a channel away from the usual flow. Let the lava cool or open another gate from a lake containing water to rapidly cool it down. Once cooled down, send in people to mine away at the lava - remove the good bits and dump the bad. Clear out the area and rinse/repeat.
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    Some thought is mithril might just be aluminum.
    1) There was a time fairly recently where aluminum was far more valuable than gold.
    2) It is light weight and very strong for its mass and volume.
    3) It is very silvery

    It take enormous heat to convert bauxite (an aluminum oxide ore) to aluminum. The temp is in the 1500°f to 1800°f. So say a lava vent opened up through a large bauxite deposit and effectively smelted aluminum out of the deposit that is ready for skimming and use as a nearly magical, non rusting very light weight but very strong metal.

    Is that the type of semi-pseudoscientic stuff you were looking for?

    Alternately diamonds are associated with lava, work something up along that way.

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    Hrm those things could work, but I think it'd help if I gave some more info on the miners. Dx They're a pyrokinetic species that can withstand 1000 degree temperatures from birth and up to 9000 degrees (though this is very rare) for the most powerful. Semi-pseudoscientific explanation for that involves being able to shield themselves from heat and manipulate flames by conducting the ions with their electromagnetic field/aura/whatever you wanna call it. So I'm talking about somehow extracting minerals from the lava while molten, as lava feels essentially just like warm clay to these people. xD

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    Idea came from a dream about a mine/refinery in a hot underground cavern with lakes and rivers of lava. I imagine that if there was some way to extract the minerals and such, processing it all in one place would require less time and resources, as there would be no need for fuel-burning furnaces or transporting anything from mine to refinery, similar to that one huge salt mine that does it all underground.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    So they can briefly dive into lava and extract valuable, perhaps magical gems. Diamonds and some other gems are more common around volcanic activity though I think technically they are formed deep and not found in lava flows. There are gems more likely to be near the surface. I would look into peridot, a hard green gem found on volcanic islands.

    Also again Bauxite and volcanoes do go together occasionally and you can accurately describe the ore and refined metals without calling it by name as a genius bonus for some of your readers.

    Another nearly magical metal could be gather nickle in large quantities as mixing iron and nickle in the right concentration of course give you stainless steel and if the rest of the world is iron or bronze age, stainless steel could be nearly magical in effectiveness and appearance.

    It can always just be gold, occasionally found near old volcanic vents. But seems too pat and boring to me.

    What is the level of technology of the world? Is it stone, bronze, iron or steel age? Do gems have magical properties? These are things to think about in world building.

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