This question is basically related to my former question: What would change if our Earth lacked mountains? (Geology)

So in my world people have stopped at a level of wisdom that might be similar to the one of the end of the 7th century.

I assume that scientists -in this world- are able to communicate and share wisdom easily as this world isn't too big: communication via letters etc. wouldn't take more than a few weeks. So maybe some have got the latest technology but could communicate it to others who were much better in deducing or in experimental matters etc..

Would their scientists or people of wisdom be able to describe the phenomenon of tectonics?

How would they describe it?

Would they be able to understand the phenomenon of earthquakes and tectonics, for example would they realize that mountains are a among the results of earthquakes or would they rather reverse cause and effect.

Maybe one could say my focus is on the relationship between earthquakes and Mountains and how they might explain it (scientifically).

  • $\begingroup$ @Raisus I might agree but I'm looking for a science based answer it that would be possible with the given wisdom and knowledge! $\endgroup$ – Medi1Saif Sep 16 '16 at 11:03
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    $\begingroup$ I know. I just thought that answer'd be funny, it's why i put it as a comment, not an actual answer lol $\endgroup$ – Raisus Sep 16 '16 at 11:14
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    $\begingroup$ "6th/7th century level of wisdom" is rather broad, could you maybe clarify technology level? Because, for example, the first seismoscope was built in China in the 1st century, so it's possible that by the 6th century, in alternative reality, Chinese could have a good understanding of seismology. $\endgroup$ – user8808 Sep 16 '16 at 11:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Medi1Saif: you have plate movements, and both mountain-building and earthquakes are the result of it (on very different timescales). So it's not a cause and effect relationship, it's two effects with the same cause. Just a minor nitpick, don't mind it! $\endgroup$ – scrwtp Sep 16 '16 at 11:29
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    $\begingroup$ A certain native american source indicates that certain tribes were aware of the fact that the under-earth was broken up into varying sections. Dates to about 6bc. It also indicates that they believed that the earth used to be mostly solid before being broken up, but still, pretty interesting claim. So depending on the open-mindedness, your answer could be surprisingly close to modern. Other tribes have been proven to have had advanced surgery techniques including brain surgery and body modification, as well as mathematics and astronomy and other advanced technologies. $\endgroup$ – nijineko Sep 16 '16 at 16:38

The simple answer is not all. Understanding plate tectonics only came once the world had been thoroughly mapped by navigators, surveyors, oceanographers, cartographers, and geologists had followed up this mapping by conducting geological surveys.

The essence of the theory of plate tectonics is the knowledge that continental drift takes place on a global scale. A seventh century world is unlikely to have the global knowledge of the planet they live on to comprehend the changes taking place over geological time.

It wasn't until the early twentieth century that sufficient knowledge had been accumulated for a theory like plate tectonics to be postulated in the first instance. To people in the seventh century the world looks like a solid and immovable domain, even being able to grasp the concept that the earth beneath their feet is capable of moving and changing would have been beyond their grasp. This doesn't mean they were stupid, far from it as they are as smart as present day people, they simply didn't have a frame of reference or the knowledge to see the world was like that.

  • $\begingroup$ I know of recorded statements of people of that time saying that Mountains are the reason that earth is not shaking. The point is that this sounds rather unscientific. $\endgroup$ – Medi1Saif Sep 19 '16 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Medi1Saif That is interesting. Statements like aren't speculation or a hypothesis or an explanation of the phenomena, somewhere between a just-so story and what-if. They were as smart as we are, they lacked any evidence for plate tectonics. The mythology of Australian Aborigines has Dreamtime Spirits transform themselves into features & aspects of the world. Had they been restless & moved around, this might have a loose "basis" for a mythological version of continental drift & plate tectonics. Mountains stopping earth from shaking is a nice notion. $\endgroup$ – a4android Sep 19 '16 at 12:45

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