Author Topic: Puma Punku  (Read 16179 times)

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Offline HAL

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2010, 12:53:28 PM »
I don't think it's possible without some kind of machinery. Using chisels for something like that...

At least a few of you understand. That's satisfying.

Offline MadBunny

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2010, 01:39:53 PM »
I don't think it's possible without some kind of machinery. Using chisels for something like that...

At least a few of you understand. That's satisfying.

Oh, I understand the point you're making, but the problem is they never really left any real descriptions of the techniques they used.
Part of the problem is that they developed their stoneworking techniques in isolation from the rest of the world, which means that we can't directly compare the way say, the Greeks or Egyptians did things.

If you're asking me, I'd say they ground out the interior spaces using some kind of gigantic sander, in a caged rig.  We could probably design one that worked, and simply sanded away the material they didn't want.  Not very efficient compared to cutting, but low tech enough to be plausible.  That's really all speculation though.

Lets look at what we do know.

We know that at a minimum they had talented engineers.  We know this because they worked with descriptive geometry, both in positive and negative forms.  We know this also, because there are modular designs.

We know that they had architects.  We know this because some of their buildings show incredible design and planning.  Things like water systems and sewage that were integrated into the buildings.

We also know that they didn't shy away from big projects.  Moving these huge blocks of stone up the side of steep mountains likely required a huge work force.

Most importantly, we know they had cool names for things.  Many of these stones were quarried out by lake Titicaca.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2010, 02:00:14 PM »
I don't think it's possible without some kind of machinery. Using chisels for something like that...

At least a few of you understand. That's satisfying.

HAL, while I never went on to advanced stone carving while getting my art degree, I took a couple of newbie classes because they were required.  I got to watch the more advanced students work on granite.  Does that make me an expert?  No.  Do I remember everything?  No, it was many years ago.  And, it wasn't my favorite sculpture class to attend.

But, I observed: until they were able to prove their skill with tools, students would not be allowed near the power tools.  All they could use is the different sorts of chisels.  Carving straight lines was an exercise we all had to do, and variations of the exercise were done on granites by advanced students.  It was hard.  But, scoring-chisel-check that I outlined above was the process.

When you see it done, you realize that it is doable.  Including the deep cuts and the face-removal needed to make the lintels and deep indentations.  You can make very deep cuts with this technique, you just have to carve out the cavity carefully, then slowly polish the flat edges.  Again, what you see in the photos is pretty damn impressive, I won't buck it.  It's really tedious work -- that's why I wasn't a fan, and I wasn't even working on granite, just a tiny bit of limestone.  It was not easy, and I can't even pretend to calculate the man-hours that went into the structure in your pix.

It is possible that they had other tools, yes.  I can imagine a board with corundum bits lined up like a big rasp.  I think adhering the bits would be hard, but not impossible.  They could have used another Egyptian-type device: the Egyptians used bows, the string wrapped around a stick-with-bit, making a drill.  "Sawing" the bow back and forth made the drill spin.  This method could have been used to preforate the surface, making controlled removal of large sections of slab easier.  So, a long stick with corundum in the tip, pouring water in its bore hole to keep it cool is a possibility.  Once you've drilled enough around the perimeter though, you still would have to chisel out the parts that are still attached, you would still have to flatten and polish the faces by hand.  (Again, this is the standard, tedious technique.) 

This drill method could have been used for the quarrying itself, as well, to remove large blocks.  In modern quarrying, you can see the striations along the edges. That is the same drilling technique with power tools, preforating the blocks like stamps.  The blocks in this photo are massive.



Drills could have been used, but if made of wood with bits of stone (or metal) they would have disintegrated, probably, and unless we find a quarry site that is definitely one of theirs, we probably won't be able to tell if they used this technique, for sure.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 02:02:05 PM by Jim »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2010, 03:57:56 PM »
This is very impressive. They would have to use some kind of sanding technique to make the edges so clean and sharp after the chiseling.   Could they have invented some kind of power tools run by water? Or one of those grinding stones turned by a pedal? I guess not if they did not have the wheel......Hmmm.

I have not worked with stone at all, only wood and plastic. I just cut some hard plastic for my in-laws kitchen ceiling. Used a special saw. All hail power tools!  :)
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Offline Ananukia

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #33 on: March 08, 2010, 04:29:17 PM »
It's amazing the things people can do with plenty of free time, and fear from a blood god.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #34 on: March 08, 2010, 10:50:01 PM »
It's amazing the things people can do with plenty of free time, and fear from a blood god.

Actually, this is a good point.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2010, 10:51:39 PM »
Most importantly, we know they had cool names for things. ... Titicaca.

Snigger.. snort!  Heh heh.  Titty caca.  Haw haw.
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Offline William

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2010, 11:16:03 PM »
Hal, I may be off at a tangent here but I read somewhere (can't remember now) that very flat surfaces can be created using an extremely heavy tool that is swinging on a pendulum, and you gradually shift/rotate the workpiece underneath.
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Offline Agga

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2010, 11:30:28 PM »
^^ That could explain the large, open flat surfaces but don't we still have the problem of the perfectly flat/square recesses that were created in the blocks?

I've been reading up on this before adding a post but I'm struggling to get my head around the accuracy of the complex blocks without bringing in some kind of diamond tooled machine that creates perfect tolerances and dead-straight grooves.

I think it was in one of the youtube clips someone mentions that the tolerances were so tight that one couldn't even fit a razor blade in between the blocks.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #38 on: March 09, 2010, 01:56:33 AM »
^^ That could explain the large, open flat surfaces but don't we still have the problem of the perfectly flat/square recesses that were created in the blocks?

I've been reading up on this before adding a post but I'm struggling to get my head around the accuracy of the complex blocks without bringing in some kind of diamond tooled machine that creates perfect tolerances and dead-straight grooves.

I think it was in one of the youtube clips someone mentions that the tolerances were so tight that one couldn't even fit a razor blade in between the blocks.

Tolerances that match are tedius but not impossible if you have accurate measurements.  When I had to study repairing wooden aircraft wings, I had to spend a crapload of time making sure the peices were perfectly mated.  Doable, but a pain in the ass.  I can only imagine that working in stone using primitive tools that it would have been exponentially more of a pain.

The problem is that they didn't seem to have a writing system, or have invented the wheel, both of which are pretty much essential to any sophisticated operation.

I'm sort of in the middle between Jims and Hals points.  It's obviously doable, given that it was done, and with primitive tools and no writing system.  At the same time, I have no fucking idea how they did it.  I could speculate how I'd do it, but I'm familiar with mechanical advantage, euclidian geometry and basic engineering concepts like gear reduction.


@ Jim, oh fine.  I still think Titicaca is funny.

@ Annanukia, Slavery: gets shit done.  Find an ancient monument that didn't involve massive numbers of slaves and I'll be surprised.  The closest thing I can think of in modern times would be something like Hoover Dam.
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Offline Gaston

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #39 on: March 09, 2010, 04:18:56 AM »
@ Annanukia, Slavery: gets s**t done.  Find an ancient monument that didn't involve massive numbers of slaves and I'll be surprised.  The closest thing I can think of in modern times would be something like Hoover Dam.

I could be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the pyramids weren't built by slaves. They're pretty monumental IMO.
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Offline trustno1

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #40 on: March 09, 2010, 05:18:07 AM »
I'm with Hal on this -- it's absolutely mysterious.  We need to know more.  The archaeologists will need to find and sift through the work site dump sites to uncover the actual tools employed.

Jim, perhaps you earlier meant to say "corundum drill bit" or "corundum saw blade" rather than "corundum chisel."  I don't believe that even today there's any such thing as a natural mineral chisel given that such an instrument, were it to exist, would almost certainly shatter instantly in use.  Your "English Mechanic and World Science" reference from 1891(!) is overtly dismissive of this speculative compound bronze/corundum tool, concluding, "Against this theory may be advanced the fact that no such tools have been discovered, and that, although many bronze chisels etc. have been found in Egypt, none bear evidence of having been set with corundum or other stone."

Long straight cuts in quarry stone are nowadays made with wire saws.  An abrasive slurry is fed onto a fast-moving steel cable which abrades its way into the material.  But even such a nicety as this or some similar primitive analog would be useless on inside cuts.  Yes, it's a bit mysterious.  The joke among modern hard rock drillers is that you've achieved success so long as you wear down the rock just a little faster than you wear out your expensive equipment.
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Offline HAL

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2010, 09:09:01 AM »
This right here would be a royal bitch to have to make out of granite. You see all the materiel has to be removed outside of the first raised part to leave a raised section? That's a lot of granite to have to grind down just for a pretty raised part. That's one reason I propose they had devised machining. Any other way would have taken so long ... yea maybe they all the time in the world but there are limits I think. Getting the edges smooth is sorta easy (comparatively) because you can move out and back beyond the edge of the outside raised part with your grinder. Yea maybe some poor slob was told to grind all the material down an inch to make the raised part. So far so good I suppose.



But the inside parts is way harder. Way harder because of the material. That's what you always have to keep in mind - the material. Limestone is another story because it's a lot easier to sand and grind and chisel. This ain't limestone. It's granite/diorite and the minerals can chip out easily (see other posts in this thread). Not only that, as I keep saying, it ain't art that can be fudged. You can't afford to ruin these pieces becasue of the magnitude of the mistake - you would lose so much wasted time. You need a way that is reliable so you don't get more waste product that good product.

I don't see any way to make it to the final design by chiseling. I see cutting and grinding, but the problem is getting the inside faces flat all the way to the corner and all the way to where 3 faces meet. You can't grind back and forth past the edge like the outside corner. You have to think about this to understand how hard it is to do. Yes, you can say they didn't have anything better to do but grind their asses off all day for 100 years, but I do believe there are limits to what people will do vs the work output they can achieve.

What I'd like to see is some stones that were "messed up" or attempted which didn't turn out right. That would maybe point to a progressive improvement in tooling. You know, maybe a block that was chiseled out to try to make the pattern below.

Cheif: "Putu, here is the pattern I need in the blocks. Go make 50 blocks like this with this pattern"

6 monnths later ...

Putu: "Sorry Chief, I may get my head cut off, but chiseling out this pattern ain't gonna cut it (no pun intended chief). It can't be done with chisels. We'll have to get back to you after we find a better way to make these blocks. Is it so important to have a pattern like that on the block? Why can't it just have a flat face Chief?"

Chief: "My temple needs sacrifices - are you volunteering for the next ritual Putu?"

Putu: "Gotcha, we'll figure something out Chief! We'll get those patterns done no matter what we have to invent"

In other words, I don't think they just decided to make these blocks and such without many trials of different methods, so that's what they need to try to find - the attempts at doing this work prior to success.

I certainly do not think aliens helped them of course. I do think we have not found an adequate explanation of the tools they invented though.


Offline Jim

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #42 on: March 09, 2010, 09:37:01 AM »
...Jim, perhaps you earlier meant to say "corundum drill bit" or "corundum saw blade" rather than "corundum chisel."  I don't believe that even today there's any such thing as a natural mineral chisel given that such an instrument, were it to exist, would almost certainly shatter instantly in use.  Your "English Mechanic and World Science" reference from 1891(!) is overtly dismissive of this speculative compound bronze/corundum tool, concluding, "Against this theory may be advanced the fact that no such tools have been discovered, and that, although many bronze chisels etc. have been found in Egypt, none bear evidence of having been set with corundum or other stone."
...

It's what I found.  And, unfortunately while I have seen compound tools before, I cannot find an image of this type, so indeed it may never have existed.  I am not too dismissive of the possibility, the mechanics of it are easy to reproduce.  As easy to reproduce as a drill bit or a rasp.  I am more doubtful that there was a power supply that could get a corundum-set saw blade up to speed for the task.  I think it is easier to imagine that the culture that had the technology to make alloys (in links above) could make a short shaft with a recess in it to hold a chunk or wider "sliver" of a bit, and there have a tipped chisel.  A drill bit, in basic construction, would be the same thing, but with a different shaft material.  An arrow with stone tip has the same basic plan, as well.

Of course, they could have discovered a very hard steel alloy to do the job.  I wouldn't know.

Yes, 'tis a mystery.  So, to keep the peace, I will retract my thoughts about chisels doing the job.  There's no evidence, and it's obviously impossible for such a primitive culture to have come up with a simplistic solution to do a brute force task.  After all, there are no other precedents for such things.
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Offline Frank

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2010, 10:45:36 AM »


@ Annanukia, Slavery: gets shit done.  Find an ancient monument that didn't involve massive numbers of slaves and I'll be surprised.  The closest thing I can think of in modern times would be something like Hoover Dam.

All the stone monuments in Greece. Stonehenge, The temples, pyramids, sphinx, and giant statues of Egypt. The pyramids of pan and south America. The ancient temples in Cambodia and across the far east. In fact almost all ancient monuments were constructed by the local populations.

Mr De Mille, Charlton Heston, and their 10 Commandments was a pack of lies. Hebrew slaves in "The land of Goshen" did not spend their lives chiseling statues and dragging huge blocks of stone around. It's just another bible myth. Even back then people weren't stupid. Large amounts of slaves undermined the local payed workforce. They lacked skills. They needed food, water, housing, clothes, Unless you were rich they were more trouble than they were worth. That is why only the wealthy had slaves. They were too expensive for the average Joe Shmo.

I have no doubt the people at Puma Punku built their own monuments. Human ingenuity is a wonderful thing. They used whatever crude tools they had along with their brains and their brawn.

It is wrong to claim slaves constructed the monuments of ancient civilizations. These building projects were national undertakings and it steals their glory and achievements to say they didn't do it themselves.
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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #44 on: March 09, 2010, 11:11:21 AM »
I stand corrected on the slaves thing.
Although, as I understand it, the pyramids were probably constructed using a large mixture of slaves and skilled workers. 
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Offline Frank

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #45 on: March 09, 2010, 11:20:50 AM »
I stand corrected on the slaves thing.
Although, as I understand it, the pyramids were probably constructed using a large mixture of slaves and skilled workers. 

From National Geographic

Quote
Contrary to some popular depictions, the pyramid builders were not slaves or foreigners. Excavated skeletons show that they were Egyptians who lived in villages developed and overseen by the pharaoh's supervisors.

The builders' villages boasted bakers, butchers, brewers, granaries, houses, cemeteries, and probably even some sorts of health-care facilities—there is evidence of laborers surviving crushed or amputated limbs. Bakeries excavated near the Great Pyramids could have produced thousands of loaves of bread every week.

Some of the builders were permanent employees of the pharaoh. Others were conscripted for a limited time from local villages. Some may have been women: Although no depictions of women builders have been found, some female skeletons show wear that suggests they labored with heavy stone for long periods of time.

Graffiti indicates that at least some of these workers took pride in their work, calling their teams "Friends of Khufu," "Drunkards of Menkaure," and so on—names indicating allegiances to pharaohs.

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 workers built the Pyramids at Giza over 80 years. Much of the work probably happened while the River Nile was flooded.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids/pyramids.html

I'll bet the "Drunkards of Menkaure," were a fun bunch.
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Offline HAL

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #46 on: March 09, 2010, 11:55:00 AM »
Folks,

I could care less whether slaves, skilled artisans, or trained monkeys made the blocks.

I'm interested in how they machined them.  :shrug
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 01:13:25 PM by HAL »

Offline Operator_011

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #47 on: March 09, 2010, 02:08:39 PM »
Members,


I've removed some more off-topic posts and replies.

Several times the OP's requested a focused discussion on the specific methods used to create these blocks with such accuracy, using materials that are extremely difficult to work with.

That's the focus of this thread. I don't want to see any more off topic posts.

If you don't have a hypothesis to offer on this specific issue, please step aside while the other members continue the discussion.


Thanks.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 02:23:56 PM by Moderator_011 »
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Offline none

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2010, 02:21:21 PM »
I don't know much about the region that this site resides on but I wonder if the peoples used some type of chemical supplied by the vegetation to shape the features of the material what ever it may be.

edit:grammar.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 02:27:39 PM by none »

Offline Ananukia

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2010, 06:01:43 PM »
Folks,

I could care less whether slaves, skilled artisans, or trained monkeys made the blocks.

I'm interested in how they machined them.  :shrug

I think you are jumping to conclusions. You are supposing that they needed machinery. I think hands tools would have been sufficient.
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Offline HAL

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #50 on: March 09, 2010, 06:17:10 PM »

I think you are jumping to conclusions. You are supposing that they needed machinery. I think hands tools would have been sufficient.

OK, then explain how to make the stones using hand tools with respect to the material being granite/diorite. Don't just say they did it, explain in detail the steps to our audience. Don't just fall back to the same old line -

"Oh you know, they just had a lot of free time to pound on the rocks until they got it right"

If you can explain how they achieved the accuracy and the smoothness and the inside surfacing, then you need to write a paper to a bunch of archaeologists that can't figure it out.

Offline Ananukia

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #51 on: March 09, 2010, 06:22:24 PM »
I can't, yet you jump to the conclusion that they must have had machinery, yet they have not found any of that equipment.

Neither of us can prove either, I only assume they did it with hand tools because it's the simplest answer.
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Offline HAL

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2010, 06:55:40 PM »
I can't, yet you jump to the conclusion that they must have had machinery, yet they have not found any of that equipment.

Neither of us can prove either, I only assume they did it with hand tools because it's the simplest answer.

The simplest answer isn't always the right answer. The right answer is always the right answer.[1]. If you can explain to me how you can make those stones with simple tools, instead of repeating it over and over, then I will drop my claim that they needed machine tools.

Can you explain the entire process?
 1. You can quote me on that if you wish

Offline none

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2010, 07:54:07 PM »
is there any chemist or otherwise out there that knows how diorite reacts to chemicals other than plain old water?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2010, 08:03:38 PM »
None, even if there were available chemicals that ate away at the minerals in diorite fast enough to get the job done, you have to take into account the fact that the material isn't an even mix.  The rock is "phaneritic", meaning that the crystals are visible.  And the crystals are made of different materials from each other, in an overall mix.

What this means is that some crystals will be more vulnerable to chemical attack than others.  This would make smooth surfaces nigh-impossible to achieve via that method.
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Offline none

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2010, 08:10:59 PM »
so who is to say they used only one chemical to achieve the result?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2010, 08:15:52 PM »
So you're suggesting that they found a mixture of chemicals that ate away at both hornblende and plagioclase feldspar at exactly the same rate, produced this mixture in industrial quantities to react with a large amount of rock, found a way to control its rate and distribution of administration to the rock so that they could create fine features with it without mistake?

That kind of expert chemistry would be just as impressive as, if not more impressive than, the development of machine tools.

EDIT:  Keep in mind that it's not a simple matter of mixing chemical A that works 2x as fast on a mineral, with twice as much chemical B that works 1x as fast on the other mineral.  Not only does the prevalence of each mineral vary across the stone, but some very sophisticated knowledge of chemical kinetics is needed to account for how each chemical will speed/slow the effect of the other.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 08:19:21 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline none

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Re: Puma Punku
« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2010, 08:24:50 PM »
are you using the precedent in western culture that drilling a hole in your head was done before using chemicals to treat a headache as your basis for comparison of the possible capability of these peoples to modify the diorite?