My continent features a large canyon, perhaps 100 miles long and mile across. It is deep enough that descending to the bottom is dangerous and impractical. It is located primarily in an arid scrubland but also passes through a mountainous region at one end. The cause is supernatural, so there is no riverbed or other erosion in play (at least not initially). Otherwise, the world is fairly Earth-like. The emphasis here is on the length and relative impassibility. I am interested in how a pre-industrial society could overcome or adapt to such a barrier.

The above assumes the canyon is an ancient feature. What if it wasn't? What if some cataclysm created this chasm and disrupted a human society? Could a society easily adapt to such a drastic change or would all communications be severed between either side.

  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to add that I am new here, so if there are any questions or clarifications I'm missing, feel free to ask. Loving this site so far, there's some real creative questions out there. $\endgroup$ – Kys Dec 21 '15 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ How is this terribly different than the Grand Canyon? $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Dec 21 '15 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ It could be miles deep. It is deep enough that descending to the bottom is dangerous and impractical. which is kind of like the grand canyon I guess. Maybe the better question is what needs to be different to make it unlike the grand canyon. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Dec 21 '15 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest making this multiple questions as answering as it is is too broad $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Dec 21 '15 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ Canyons are usually formed by rivers or glaciers eroding away land as geological conditions uplift it. That means that over geological periods of time, flora and fauna make their way into them easily. But if you had a region like the Atacama desert form a rift valley with no easy way in except by air and it remained that way over eons of time, it might form an ecosystem very different from the rest of the planet. $\endgroup$ – Howard Miller Dec 21 '15 at 23:18

There are a number of adaptions that developing society will likely use.

Cargo and personal transport will usually simply bypass the canyon as a 50 mile detour is preferable to a dangerous and difficult rift crossing.

Specialists that travel across the canyon, similar to hiring sherpas when climbing mountains. Cargo transport will natural be relatively expensive in such cases. But, if you are in a hurry, this may be the best choice.

Communication across a 1 mile gap is very possible, if a bit complicated -- suggested methods.

This is really very little different from the impact of a difficult mountain chain. Except that mountains may be worse due the effects of low air pressure and cold temperature in the mountains.


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