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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:28 am 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah all,

This is just a quick update regarding my upcoming road research. The cold of winter has become a bit milder here in New Mexico, so I've begun planning my next non-cyber research excursion.

I will be heading south to Three Rivers on the first Saturday in March. Although it is about 70 miles east of the old Camino Real (the likeliest candidate for the trade route described in BoA), it is in the right vegetation zone. :)

I haven't yet searched this area via Google Earth for likely looking landforms but hope to do so before I drive down there. I plan to start early enough that I will have time for a side trip or two just in case I see any likely-looking calderas on the way. :wink: At the very least, I'll get some new photos of all the D'ni glyphs there!!**

Naturally, I'll post here after I get back and let everyone know all the details! :D

[[**see my very first research journal]]

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 Post subject: Getting packed up...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah all,

Just a quick note to let everyone know that the road trip is a go! The weather here in New Mexico promises to be perfect for this surface adventure and a friend has agreed to help with the drive (it's a 3-1/2 hour drive from my friend's house, a 4-hour drive from mine). Chances are excellent that I won't be back in time to post any results until some time on Sunday (or even later, depending on how late we return and how tired I am on Sunday).

Gotta go!! So much to do!!! :D :D

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:06 pm 
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Good luck on your trip! If you see Zandi, tell him I want my Peter Gabriel CD back.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:23 am 
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Shorah again,

Your request is duly noted sideshow118. :wink:

While rushing about getting last minute supplies, I noticed some familiar objects at Home Depot:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
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Hope this is an auspicious sign! :D

Think I might have to go back and give a few of them a new home

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 Post subject: Made it back!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:36 pm 
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Shorah all,

This is just a quick update to let you know I'm back safe and sound. :) I took nearly 500 photos, so have a lot of sorting through to do before I can tell you all about the trip. But I can go ahead and share this with you:

[Reveal] Spoiler: Meet Larry, Curley and Moe!
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Moe and my Adventurer hat
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Moe was small enough to pack along for the hike so he is featured in a few of the upcoming photos.

sideshow118, sorry to say I did not run into Zandi. Maybe next time...

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:12 pm 
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Ah! the 3 Cone Stooges! Absolutely Brilliant! :) I hope that's a good sign!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:01 pm 
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Quote:
sideshow118, sorry to say I did not run into Zandi. Maybe next time...


That guy has be dodging me for years. Never answers my texts. Never responds to my emails. How many times can you listen to Burn You Up/Burn You Down????


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 Post subject: Three Rivers quest notes
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:01 pm 
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Shorah all,

I've finally got something written up in a digestible form for the forums here. For those who want the gory details and a full photo set, you can check out my updated journal and the petroglyph slideshow. But for the short version, read on here:

[Reveal] Spoiler: We drive south from Albuquerque; crossing the Rio Grande, there is a lovely view of the Three Sisters to the north
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[Reveal] Spoiler: In the Belen area, there is a suggestive cindercone to the east
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[Reveal] Spoiler: To the west are mesas, hills and mountains
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Continuing southward, there is a wildlife refuge to the east
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We have just passed the town of Socorro with its well-respected School of Mining and Technology
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We turn eastward at the hamlet of San Antonio, heading toward Carrizozo
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[Reveal] Spoiler: However, the road is temporarily blocked due to some tests on the White Sands Missile Range ahead
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Taking an alternate route is out of the question, so we go back to San Antonio for a short tour and early lunch
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Conrad Hilton was born here, going on to found the famous hotel chain and to become grandfather to a famous spoiled heirress
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[Reveal] Spoiler: We have lunch at the Buckhorn, famous for its green chile cheeseburgers
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[Reveal] Spoiler: On the road again, we cross the Rio Grande river for a second time today
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Driving eastward, there are more interesting volcanic formations to the south
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A northern part of White Sands Missile Range, quite possibly the installation responsible for the road closure earlier
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The only waystation on this 65-mile stretch of road
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Nearing Carrizozo, the Valley of Fires/Carrizozo Malpais volcanic field looms ahead
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Driving south from Carrizozo, we skirt the volcanic field to the west
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Forty-odd miles later, we find the turnoff to Three Rivers
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[Reveal] Spoiler: There are more than 20,000 petroglyphs here!! It will be a challenge to locate all the Dni glyphs I documented years before
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The trail to the top of the volcanic mesa
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The view from the top
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A magnificent spiral glyph
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A cluster of handprints
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I re-find one of the Shroomie glyphs!
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A comet glyph perched atop a large boulder
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The gypsum sands of White Sands National Monument appear as a smudge in the southwest distance
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A marvelous dragonfly glyph
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I have been hiking, clambering and photographing for more than two hours now and the mesa continues to ramble onward to the north
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Another suggestive cindercone in the distant south
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I am tired and head back toward the trailhead, intending to take more photos featuring Moe with the Dni glyphs
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Here is the representation of the Great Shaft and journey to the ancient City
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[Reveal] Spoiler: I have found one of the Kadish symbol glyphs
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Close by is a similar glyph showing eight circles rather than four...
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[Reveal] Spoiler: My shadow portrait as sunset is approaching
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[Reveal] Spoiler: A cottontail dining on a cactus at sundown
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Sunset at Three Rivers
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The fading sky shortly after
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I was able to photograph a number of suggestive volcanic features but still didn't find a true match for the Cleft caldera. And I am somewhat disappointed that I failed to find some of the D'ni glyphs from my earlier trip; in particular, I'd been hoping to find the Yeesha portrait, the Cavern city and the busy rock with the star fissure. Ah well, I'm happy to have found the ones I did...

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:26 pm 
Very nice work, Ainia. Some of those backgrounds were very reminiscent of the Cleft horizon!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:46 pm 
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Just a quick comment from a long-time Myst and Uru fan/player -- I really enjoy reading and seeing all of these, Ainia. Going to these locales is pretty much out of the question for me because of geographical constraints (i.e it's too far) so I have to vicariously get my Uru "treatments" this way. Just great!

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 Post subject: Shorah Lyle627!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:05 am 
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Shorah Lyle627!

So glad you are enjoying this project! :D

Yes Ohio is a good distance from here. I once lived in the Chicago area for a couple of years and then migrated to Albuquerque for college. I remember those grueling road trips back to Chicagoland during holidays and summer break. Definitely taxing on the body and wallet!

Participation in this project by others is always welcome! The most helpful contribution from folks elsewhere is to look for candidate landforms via Google Earth. I do this from time to time, however it can be tedious work. :wink: Of course, you are welcome to participate by simply reading about my latest research here!! Comments are always welcome!! :)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:08 am 
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Shorah Kath,

Yes, New Mexico suffers from an abundance of mountain chains scattered across an otherwise flat landscape. So there is no shortage of candidates here for the Cleft horizon... :wink:

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 Post subject: Journal excerpts, Part 1
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:49 am 
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Shorah all,

I have been continuing my researches over the past weeks and thought I'd share some of my journal entries about that here. I will split this into several posts by day so it doesn't become tedious to wade through everything at once! :wink:

Tuesday 5 Mar 2013

I’ve kept thinking about watching Orion on our way back home Saturday night… Kath recently posted her research about Atrus’s birth date and commented that in the Book of Atrus, it describes him sitting on a ledge in the Cleft two days before his seventh birthday, gazing at the moon and the stars of Orion.

I keep going back to how narrow the Cleft is, and how the view of Orion from there would reveal a great deal about the exact time of year, as well as help to nail down the compass directions there. I’ve never been sure exactly where north and south really are…

So I grabbed my KI and Relto book and headed off. I remembered to take my copy of the Book of Atrus so I could try to find the exact spot where Atrus must have sat as a child.

As it turns out, the descriptions in the book provide a very narrow set of possibilities for Atrus’s perch that night. The book says he was sitting on the ledge in front of the sleeping chambers, above the level of the kitchen and could see Anna to his right inside the kitchen window.

I spent at least an hour trying to work this out down in the Cleft and the only place where he could see through the kitchen window from that ledge offers a very poor view of the night sky. However, there are a couple other places on that ledge that have a very good view of the sky and offer a view through the kitchen door…

For Atrus to have seen Anna to his right, though, he would have been seated with his left shoulder toward the near Cleft wall; if he’d been sitting with his legs dangling over the edge, Anna would have been on his left…

Considering how Orion looks this time of year, I’m guessing that Atrus couldn’t have seen Orion from within the Cleft except when it’s close to the apex. Orion is too close to the horizon for much of its celestial journey to be visible at all so far down from the surface. It’s possible it could be visible briefly during the night at one of the corners of the Cleft, providing the corner is oriented southward. But I think it’s more likely that Orion would be visible more than briefly from within the Cleft, else Atrus would not have been studying it from there at all, but rather from the surface.

Overall, I expect that Atrus had a favorite stargazing spot where he sat in the evenings and this particular night was no different. After everything I’ve looked at, I’m concluding that the only location which offers a good view of the kitchen along with an optimal stargazing view is the ledge between the two sleeping chamber doorways.

[Reveal] Spoiler: View of the kitchen between the sleeping chambers
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[Reveal] Spoiler: View of the sky from between the sleeping chambers
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To view Orion for any length of time in this location, the far Cleft wall would have to be oriented roughly southward. Even so, I’m not convinced that one could see the entire constellation from here… though the belt and bow are the only features mentioned in the book. It’s a frustrating pity that we aren’t able to visit the Cleft at night.

While I was in the Cleft, I tried to check on some of the other details described from that time.

Atrus’s sleeping area is described as the inner chamber, however there aren’t any chambers within chambers… so I concluded that “inner” is a reference to its position toward the far corner, farther into the Cleft fissure. In examining this room, it appears that the far niche once was the sleeping area for the young child. Anna notes in the book that he soon would outgrow this space, so the adult sleeping area we see now must have been an expansion or enhancement added at some point.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Atrus sleeping chamber
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The current niche for the pillow would have been the old sleeping area for young Atrus; the silk fabric bought for a privacy hanging can be seen at the foot of the adult bed. The lamp niche described from Atrus’s childhood can no longer be seen, presumably because the alterations needed for a growing boy required it to be moved or carved away.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Anna sleeping chamber
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Anna’s sleeping chamber is much simpler than Atrus’s, with only a few narrow storage niches in the pedestal. The oil lamp atop is a common middle eastern design, which likely was purchased from the traders at some point. We can surmise that they sold Mediterranean and African goods since Flame clearly was an Abyssinian, native to Egypt. Atrus’s silk curtain likely was European in origin.

Sadly, I cannot find the remnants of the shadow calendar, which would have helped greatly in determining compass directions. It would have been close to the top lip of the Cleft, facing eastward to catch the early morning sun as it rose.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Atrus drawing - the shadow calendar and seasonal sun cycles
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Another interesting set of objects I cannot find are the garden trough shelves where Anna cultivated her precious herbs. I’m not sure what might have happened to them, but we already can see that Yeesha has altered a number of things here in the Cleft, so perhaps this is among them.

    * * * *
I decided that since I couldn’t determine the cardinal directions with any certainty from inside the Cleft, I would attempt to see what I could learn from the surface. The most obvious approach was to compare the sun’s location between the sunny and rainy days. I was able to gather some interesting photographs.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Caldera, sunny day
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Caldera, rainy day
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Cleft, sunny day - view 1
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Cleft, rainy day - view 1
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Cleft, sunny day - view 2
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Cleft, rainy day - view 2
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Cleft, sunny day - view 3
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Cleft, rainy day - view 3
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The comparison photos are very helpful, for they show clearly that not only is the time of day different for each, but also the season is different. I believe it is morning in both situations, with the sun still in the process of rising from the east.

If this is the case, then the tree-end tip of the Cleft would be pointing roughly southeast, with the windmill side facing roughly southwest…

This would put Orion’s path at a fairly obtuse angle to the Cleft fissure, which would make it visible for a decently long time period during January through April.

In continuing my comparison of the book’s descriptions with what we see today, there is another strange disconnect. Anna is described as walking around a great arm of rock, which hid the Cleft from view of the trade route. And the drawing by Atrus of the caravan route is surprisingly close to the Cleft itself. I cannot see how the Cleft could possibly have been hidden visually from the traders.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Atrus drawing - the caldera and caravan route
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Plus I can find nothing remotely like an arm of rock at the Cleft now; this “arm” presumably offered Atrus the opportunity to watch the traders while remaining safely hidden from their eyes. Yet it is quite flat here. The caldera cinder cone is fairly uniform rather than rugged and the nearest rock formations are mountains several miles away in any direction. Another puzzle…

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 Post subject: Journal excerpts, Part 2
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:29 am 
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Shorah again,

Another journal entry transcribed for your amusement and edification. :smile:


Saturday 9 Mar 2013

I’d been planning to do a great deal of writing today but became waylaid by the need to defragment my hard drive. It took about eight hours all told and I’m finally able to write. But while waiting, I used the opportunity to re-read the early chapters in the Book of Atrus and have come to an inescapable conclusion: the book was written by someone who had never actually visited the site.

There are simply too many inconsistencies with the actual lay of the landscape and the layout within the Cleft itself. I can only suppose that David Wingrove wrote everything up based on his notes from interviewing Rand and Robyn (who have actually visited the Cleft and the Cavern and likely learned Atrus’s history either by talking with him directly or by talking with Yeesha). Plus, it’s likely that the DRC found Atrus and Anna’s old journals at some point, which could have served as references for historical events; though they quite likely didn’t contain detailed descriptions of the common bits of daily life at the Cleft. I think it quite likely that Wingrove found plenty of information about what interested Anna and Atrus in their journals: drawings and descriptions of Atrus’s experiments, descriptions of Anna’s projects and her worries about Atrus. But little to fill in the colorful details about the Cleft itself and the humdrum of daily life there. So Wingrove would have filled in that part as best he could, using a combination of imagination and guesswork.

It’s anyone’s guess why so many errors were allowed to be published, but perhaps there were time constraints; and it could be that since the book was published back when the DRC was first restoring the Cavern, they may have felt the errors would provide a measure of security, being red herrings for the readers…

I know that RAWA has complained more than once about the inconsistencies that were allowed into publication, but I hadn’t realized they were so numerous or serious. So I suppose I can treat BoA as a resource about the Cleft and caldera by not as an authoritative one.

Some examples:
  • It’s mentioned that the lip of the caldera can be seen from inside the Cleft, which is not true
  • The caldera lip is described as being a mile away from the Cleft, which again is not true
  • There are stone stairs described inside the Cleft in places where they do not exist
  • The kitchen window is described as square
[Reveal] Spoiler: The highest I can climb at the far end
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The likeliest location for viewing the caldera lip is at the highest climbable point on the far end of the Cleft. It’s likely the tree there today was not yet present when Atrus and Anna lived there; or at best it was a sapling.

[Reveal] Spoiler: The view toward the caldera from the lift area
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[Reveal] Spoiler: View of the caldera from the Cleft; the distance clearly is far short of a mile
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The kitchen doorway and window, both of which are rounded rather than square (and how *did* they get that door inside the wall??)
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And I’m not sure how much to trust Atrus’s drawings in the book either. Presumably they are genuine, yet there are some things about them as well that seem inconsistent, doubtful. The illustration of the caravan route passing so close to the Cleft itself is at odds with the descriptions in the text. I would be very surprised if a trade route passed in such close proximity to the Cleft myself. Trade routes must follow the natural resources needed by the travelers, and there are none to speak of anywhere near the Cleft…

It is far more likely that Anna had to walk a significant distance to meet them. Back in those times, the travelers likely would have either followed a river or moved from water resource to water resource. If Anna had been near a known spring or had a reliable well of her own, then the traders undoubtedly would have stopped nearby. But the only source for water at the Cleft is the seep at the bottom of the Cleft itself and there is no mention of an accessible well or natural spring anywhere else nearby.

[Reveal] Spoiler: The pond at the bottom of the lift
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Interestingly, inside the caldera, we find a stagnant pond, plus just below in the natural cave, there is an active water source. So there definitely must be an underground spring of some sort that feeds all three of these.

[Reveal] Spoiler: The pond inside the caldera
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The brackish pond inside the caldera has bubble streams floating to the surface, apparently fed from the same source as the steam vents there.

[Reveal] Spoiler: The pond inside the cave, just beneath the caldera interior
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The water in this pond is quite active, flowing from the upper right edge of the pond toward the lower left corner.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Caldera flowstone
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The flowstone just near the ladder is quite damp; there is a constant drip at work everywhere in this small cave, though not in the lava tube just outside or in the rest of the D’ni areas.

    * * * *
If I instead ignore the details from the Book of Atrus and base my theories only on what I can observe myself at the Cleft, then I think it’s far likelier that Atrus was sitting just outside the kitchen doorway when he was stargazing. I have always suspected the sun locations we see are basically southward…

[Reveal] Spoiler: The best spot near the kitchen for stargazing (and the location where Heather drew young Atrus doing just that)
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The sky view to the left
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[Reveal] Spoiler: The sky view to the right
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[Reveal] Spoiler: Young Atrus stargazing, Heather Larkin
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 Post subject: Journal excerpts, Part 3
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:44 am 
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Shorah everyone,

Yet another installment from my recent journal entries. Enjoy!! :smile:


Sunday 10 Mar 2013

I realized earlier that there is another potential source of information regarding the sun position at the Cleft—the view from inside the caldera itself. I visited briefly to verify that the sun is visible from inside and was able to take a couple of brief videos, panning the sky view. However, I need to return to see if I can find a position where I can view both the sun and the caldera tip, the only formation I can be sure to identify from both inside and outside. From the inside, it seemed as though the tip was exactly opposite the sun…

If I can nail down the sun position in relation to the tip, then I can see if the sun position from the outside is the same or different. If it’s different, then I will have a third source of data regarding the sun’s position in the sky.

    * * * *

I have been thinking all day about the interesting confluence at Three Rivers, the meeting of the black lava flow, the white gypsum sands and the petroglyphs. It occurs to me that the Cavern is also an interesting confluence, consisting both of volcanic activity and water-based mineral erosion and buildup. I would think this a rare combination for any cavern, but particularly for one so immense as the D’ni home.

This combination could well help narrow down the Cleft location, though probably not by much since the underground portion still is largely unknown to the scientific community. Nevertheless, at least this eliminates Carlsbad Caverns as a candidate since volcanic activity played no part in its formation.

Fire and water together… an interesting combination. I can only suppose that Ri’neref wrote this relationship quite deliberately into the new D’ni home. Perhaps it has some particular meaning for the D’ni; or perhaps the meaning is more personal and individual to Ri’neref…

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