PDA

View Full Version : LOTR question: What is the melting point of the One Ring?


YogSothoth
01-16-2014, 11:58 AM
In the other thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=713236) about the Hobbit, someone brought up the fact that Gandalf mentioned that not one of the dragons currently existing or ever in existence would have had the heat necessary to destroy the One Ring, but I think it left open the possibility of dragonfire being able to destroy some of the other rings (or not, I'm not sure of the exact quote).

Suppose that there was no magical barrier around the One Ring, that it simply had to be taken to a place that's really really hot in order to destroy it. The alloy it was made of is obviously not gold, so we don't know the melting point. However, we do have modern data on how hot lava is in an active volcano.

I'm no volcano expert, there are probably hot and relatively cool active volcanoes, but what range can we assume the One Ring's melting point to be if we know it can be destroyed in a volcano?

Given the medieval technology of Middle Earth at the time, is there an artificial way to generate such heat as comparable to a volcano's in order to toss the One Ring into for a while until its destroyed?

Gedd
01-16-2014, 12:09 PM
Wikipedia says "Temperatures of most magmas are in the range 700 C to 1300 C (or 1300 F to 2400 F), but very rare carbonatite melts may be as cool as 600 C, and komatiite melts may have been as hot as 1600 C." Know any Middle-Earth geologists?

Balance
01-16-2014, 12:12 PM
Given the medieval technology of Middle Earth at the time, is there an artificial way to generate such heat as comparable to a volcano's in order to toss the One Ring into for a while until its destroyed?
First, you need to talk a bunch of dwarves into mining those funny rocks that make their beards fall out....

running coach
01-16-2014, 12:16 PM
It was mentioned that since it was forged in the fires of that volcano, it was the only place it could be destroyed.

Malacandra
01-16-2014, 12:19 PM
In the other thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=713236) about the Hobbit, someone brought up the fact that Gandalf mentioned that not one of the dragons currently existing or ever in existence would have had the heat necessary to destroy the One Ring, but I think it left open the possibility of dragonfire being able to destroy some of the other rings (or not, I'm not sure of the exact quote).

Dragonfire did destroy four of the Seven Rings - the dwarves' - but there must have been a downturn in draconic fortunes since then. Gandalf stated, as mentioned in the other thread, that (some) Rings of Power could be destroyed by the fire of (some) dragons, but that (a) there were no dragons left in the "some" category, and (b) the One Ring would not have been one of the "some" even if Ancalagon the Black had still been around to do the job.

It is also possible that (i) volcanic fires were hotter in Middle-Earth generally, or (ii) Sauron had magically stoked Mount Doom years ago and it was unnaturally hot as a result. But I'd still go with (iii) for mystical reasons, the Ring was bound to the place where it was forged even if a thermometer might have measured somewhere else in the world as being hotter.

--sincerely,
Someone

Yllaria
01-16-2014, 12:21 PM
Iron looks like it melts between 1200 and 1593C (roughly 2200 and 2900 F). So if they could melt iron, they could get as hot as regular, nonmagic lava. And I'd suspect that there were elves that could magic up higher than iron-melting heat.

Is this myth busted? It could still be magically hot or, as mentioned, the volcano could have a home court advantage.

YogSothoth
01-16-2014, 12:22 PM
Well assuming that there wasn't that magical necessity and we're only talking physics, if we could replicate the heat from a volcano elsewhere...

I was recently watching a series of youtube videos about this blacksmith guy who forges weapons for movies and he often melts bronze to forge things. According to wiki, that's 950C (1742F). He does it with this little metal cup that he heats up in a kind of oven. That seems like something even the dumbest dwarf could do, right?

Chimera
01-16-2014, 12:51 PM
Tungsten would be 3422 C, 6192 F, considerably higher than the temps listed above.

kaylasdad99
01-16-2014, 01:04 PM
The temperature of the lava from a volcano will, of course, depend on the minerals comprising the rock. So, it's dependent on whether Mount Doom is closer in composition to Vesuvius (900C), or Eyjafjallajokull (1200C).

Some scholars have placed Mount Doom in present-day Romania. Unfortunately, the only volcanoes in Romania are mud volcanoes. To get even a Dome volcano, you've got to go all the way to Greece (Methana). The composition of the rocks in this volcano range from basalt (1000 - 1250C) to rhyodacite (700 - 1100C). Given these facts, it would not be out of line to set the lava temperature of mount doom at 1000C (about 1830F)

OTOH, Peter Jackson used a couple of New Zealand volcanoes (Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu) as his body doubles for Mount Doom. The inquisitive student may wish to calculate an alternative temperature range based on that.

If we assume that the Dwarves had foundries capable of melting gold (1068C) and iron (1538C), then it's almost inconceivable that they would not have been able to duplicate the temperature of the lava in the Sammath Naur, which eventually consumed the One Ring.

UNLESS: there was some other property held by that lava, which has not been specified. I think that's probably the way to bet: that just ANY volcano would not do, and it had to be the Sammath Naur, or nothing.

CalMeacham
01-16-2014, 01:04 PM
Ordinary gold melts at 1064 C = 1948 F, which is, indeed, hotter than Frodo's fireplace, which at its hottest seems likely to be 1000-1500 F. Gandalf says more heat is needed to melt the One Ring than for ordinary gold, so that gives us a lower bound.


The fact that it had to be thrown in where it was forged suggests some magical linkage, or that the Cracks of Doom t Mt. Orodruin were by far the hottest place in Middle Earth.


for reference, Propane provides 2000 C, Propane-Oxygen 2500 C, and Oxy-Acetylene about 3500. Were magic not an issue, I think a modern welding shop could make short work of the One Ring of Power.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.