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So in this scenario a group of people have found a magic stone. This magic stone creates an aura of warmth that keeps the an area at a all around constant temperature. The affected area comes in at around 2 sq miles. Now for convenience sake lets say the total area is around the size of Antarctica. Now what I'm wondering is what would happen if this stone suddenly appeared.

The specifics of the area involve these factors.

  1. The constant temperature is about 65-70°F (18-21°C)
  2. The stone is near a mountain face
  3. The ground is mostly made of stone
  4. Cold had previously killed all plants in this area.

If it helps with getting a more specific answer I want details most related to making this area either harder or easier to live in.

Ok further details in case anyone was wondering. At the edge of the stone's aura the heat quickly tapers off and will gradually heat incoming winds. also this is a fantasy timeline that is hindered by magic. They don't really find the use in becoming too technologically advanced.

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    $\begingroup$ degrees Fahrenheit I assume? It would be worth putting the value in Celsius as well so people don't need to translate. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 1 '16 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ "what would happen" is very broad. Can you be more detailed on what you want to know? $\endgroup$ – Tim B Feb 1 '16 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ What happens outside the area? Does it immediately go from pleasantly warm to freezing cold, or does it taper off? $\endgroup$ – Rob Watts Feb 1 '16 at 17:47
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    $\begingroup$ have you thought about what happens at the boundary yet? not just on the sides, but up too? Say the air outside is -40 and the wind is blowing. Assuming it magically warms up when it enters that area, what happens when the wind leaves the area again? Does it keep its warmth, or does it return to the ambient temperature? $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Feb 1 '16 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Also, there are a lot of plants that live in the tundra that thrive during the warm months. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Feb 1 '16 at 17:54
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Something important to keep in mind is how much land it takes to sustainably feed someone. If you Google "how much land does it take to feed someone", the results say that it takes about 1 acre to feed one person. 2 square miles is 1280 acres. This means that if the land is arable (farmable), then you could potentially feed 1280.

Because "the ground is mostly made of stone", this isn't arable land. That means plants won't grow without a lot of work. Also, it will be very dry—tundra is naturally quite dry (cold air doesn't hold water very well), and when that cold dry air comes in and becomes warm dry air it will be able to absorb more water, leaving the warm area drier than it was before. When that air leaves the warm area it will want to release its water, so the surrounding tundra might get a little bit more rain/snow than normal.

So to get anything to grow, people would have to do a lot of work to prepare the ground to allow plants to grow. Then, they would have to continually bring in all the water that the plants need in order to grow.

Even if you could prepare the ground and bring in enough water, I have no clue what these conditions would do to plants. I wouldn't be surprised if having the temperature stay about the same even at night would seriously mess up their growth cycles. Also, don't expect plants to be able to grow at full speed year-round—even though it will be warm in the winter, the amount of sunlight they get will be minimal. This might actually cause them to be unable to survive the winter, as the temperature will not let them go into hibernation but they will not get enough light to live.

However, since we're already dealing with a magic stone, you can handwave as many of these problems away as you wish.

In summary, there is enough land to be able to support over a thousand people. If the stone does nothing but make it warm, it would still be a massive undertaking to be able to live there. You can make a decision about how livable you want the area to be, and then allow the magic stone to help plants grow enough to make up the difference.

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I can actually be slightly more encouraging than Rob.

The warm spot would create a constant flow of air upwards, with air coming in from around. That flow of air would bring ice and snow with it which would melt once it entered the warm area and provide some supply of water. You could always fetch snow or ice and let it melt to increase the supply.

The ground being made mostly of stone does make it hard to work with but there will still be fertile areas, and a gradual process of bringing in more soil from surrounding areas would allow that fertile ground to grow and increase over time.

Plants may be confused at first but they would adapt over time (after all our jungles have little seasonal temperature variations for example). Plants grow just fine in greenhouses which do basically this (keep the temperature constant).

The constant breeze would allow quite a few options for energy generation (wind mills, wind pumps etc) if it came down to it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks your information is appreciated. As is your positive outlook on things. $\endgroup$ – Sunspear25 Mar 1 '16 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ Glad it helps, although there's no need to leave thank you comments. If you find answers helpful you should upvote them though :) $\endgroup$ – Tim B Mar 1 '16 at 16:09

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