Awhile ago, I posted a question on this site asking how a group of air-controlling mages could use their powers to create and project lightning/electricity, sorta like an Avatar/LoK sub-bending art and while I've expanded on some of the abilities of each of my four classes since then, I have a decent idea how each of them work, scientifically speaking. There is however, one exception to this. Sand. I want to give my earth mages the ability to change rocks and stones into sand and vice-versa, but unlike water’s transformation into ice, I have no idea what happens to rocks and sand when they undergo this kind of transformation. I’m also unsure how potentially damaging to the environment this could since in real life, a rock turns into sand via erosion, and sand turns into rock via compaction, and my mages are using magic to simulate these effects via molecular modification (the basic idea here is that my characters syphon magical energy from a separate D&D-inspired plane of existence, and use it to influence the world around them). Because of this, I need to know the answers to the following questions:
- What’s the difference between sand and the grains produced from grinding two rocks against each other?
- When a rock undergoes its transformation into sand via erosion, what actually happens to it on a molecular level (same goes for grain’s/sand’s transformation into rock/sandstone via compaction)?
- Since my mages have the ability to do this in a matter of seconds, will I have the same problem as a water mage quickly freezing a large body of water into ice where the amount of energy released from these actions will cause huge amounts of damage to the environment? Like, erosion and compaction both involve physically affecting the object via force and pressure, but if I’m applying THAT force and pressure to the object in such a short amount of time, will the output energy manifest as heat and spread outwards burning everything around the characters (including the characters themselves)? To make this question easier to answer, I’ll write down the largest amount of stone and sand/grain my characters can erode/compact, and the amount of time they do it in:
For erosion, an earth mage can turn a stretch of solid land as long and as wide as 40 inches and as deep as 60 inches into a bunch grains in roughly 4 seconds. They spend 3 seconds to weaken the rocks, and then use the last second to rip the solid bonds between the now weaker rocks apart from each other, creating a bunch of grains
For compaction, an earth mage can compact and harden a large amount of sand/grain into a giant boulder roughly half as tall, wide, long and heavy as this boulder https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Rock in roughly 15 seconds. They spend around half of that time moving and shaping the grains/sand into the shape of a boulder, and then use the other half to press all those grains/that sand together into a huge boulder that’s about as sturdy as your average metamorphic rock
I apologize if this question is a bit specific and/or wordy. I originally tried to post it on Quora, but after spending all afternoon yesterday turning word documents into PNGs and JPGs only for a stupid bot to keep making each and every comment I made invisible to everyone but my account, I just gave up and decided to come here instead. Besides, this is a really reliable fantasy/sci-fi world building Q&A, makes sense that you guys and girls would probably be able to help me out more on something like this.