In the book, the Oaega people live in Antartica. How do they survive? For starters, how do they keep warm? By exploiting science without even knowing it. The Oaega people have lived for many, many generations in underground ice caverns. This works because ice doesn't quickly melt. Instead, it traps in heat. From fire and from body heat, warmth stays trapped inside the caverns. Another problem you might have with living in Antartica would be shelter- and the ice caverns take care of that. Food and water are quite an issue, and water will be discussed first because it's of more importance. The waters surrounding Antartica are salty and extremely cold. But, for reasons left undiscussed in the book, the systems of the underground caverns filter the water. There are underground lakes, rivers, and waterfalls of clear water. In fact, the book states that if you go deep enough, you'll even find pools of warm water. Food would indeed be a major problem, but the Oaega miraculously got that all figured out. Although no animals live on Antartica itself, the oceans surrounding it are full of creatures.Seals, whales, penguins- you name it. The people survive off of tiny springtails (a wingless jumping insect with a forked tail), edible lichen, special types of algae, some fungi, snow algae, kelp, fish, birds, krill, land invertabrae, squid and whales. It should be noted that the Oaega people refuse to eat penguin, seeing them as sacred. And just as you were about to think you could survive in Antartica without fancy gear- you can't. The Oaenga base much of their survival on the existence of an ice dragon. Sorry.
In the series Shard's Souls, the Oaega (pronounced oh-ahng-ah in the books) people have only the name they gave themselves- the Oaega. This is laregly due to the fact that until the character ẞç (pronounced Shay in the books) ventured out of the caves, the outside world had no knowledge of their tribe. The short term Oaeg (oh-ahng) is also acceptable, though it is informal and many of the elder tribe members resent the term.
It is believed that people from India, some parts of South-east Africa, and South America migrated to Antartica during the end of the The Great Warming, approx. 2.6 million years ago- this would be near the start of the Ice Age. Even the Homo Erectus species wasn't around yet at that time. When the Ice Age began, The Antartic Ice Sheet formed and for whatever reason, these immigrants decided to stay. They adapted and began to live underground. Populations in this time fell drastically, and eventually all the peoples banded together so that they might all live.
Battle of Ĵaka PoolEdit
This battle, quickly fought before it scaled into a war, happened shortly after the passage of the newly migrate peoples into the underground caves. There were two sides- the side that wanted to use magic, and the side that didn't. The side that didn't want magic even wanted to slay the ice drgon that resided in a prophetic cavern known as Ĵaka pool. In the end, the side that wanted to use magic was defeated. The dragon was to be gotten rid of, until it was realized that it provided the only means of survival. A compromise was struck, and the Ĵaka Pool cavern was sealed off in excahange for the ice dragon's life. The story of the ice dragon was to be passed down only as myth, and the punishment for not doing so would be banishment or death.
After the battle of Ĵaka Pool, a tribal soverignty was set up. The very first tribal leader was named Æskçœ, and so the following leaders (all men) were named the same.
Uprising of the Zoa CavernEdit
The system of government used to be that families formed their own live-and-let-live groups. The Oaega peoples found it to be anarchous, and so they threw over the current system of government to form a much more rigid one. Groups of people, not related but all with the same duties in the tribe, would live together. Lichen gatherers would live with lichen gatherers, fire builders with fire builders, and so on. There would be apprenticeships, and a wise sage of the tribe would determine people's future duties, spouses, and so on. Note: shortly afterwards, the practice of marriage was deemed little more than frivolous, and so a loose polygamy was set up.
Age of MythsEdit
For some time after the Uprising of Zoa Cavern, there was a time when magic was practiced. Soon enough, though, a tyrannus tribal leader issued a death sentence on any practice of magic. It became known as the Age of Myths to discourage any future generation from believing in, and thus practicing, magic. It was believed that an enchantress named Cç (pronounced Say) broke into the prison of the ice dragon and preserved the secrets of magic by inscribing them onto the walls. However, she was told to be only a myth. A few have gone looking for the mythical cavern, but have been banished in accordance with the law.
In the Oaega language, Mo means darkness. And Mo is what they call the current times. This is because outsiders from the world above (outside the caves) discovered them. They were assumed to be of an entirely different decent from humans, and thus were treated as animals. Their language was prounced clearly to their ears, but was heavily embedded in nature sounds- one of the causes for the "Snow Peoples" (white men) to think them not human. They were hence called homo glaciens.
Geography, Climate, and EnvironmentEdit
Geological History and PaleontologyEdit
More than 170 million years ago, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana. Over time, Gondwana gradually broke apart and Antarctica as we know it today was formed around 25 million years ago. Antarctica was not always cold, dry and covered in ice sheets. At a number of points in its long history it was farther north, experienced a tropical or temperate climate, was covered in forests, and inhabited by various ancient life-forms.
As a result of continued warming, the polar ice caps melted and much of Gondwana became a desert. In Eastern Antarctica, seed ferns became established, and large amounts of sandstone and shale were laid down at this time. Synapsids, commonly known as "mammal-like reptiles", were common in Antarctica during the Late Permian and Early Triassic and included forms such as Lystrosaurus. The Antarctic Peninsula began to form during the Jurassic period (206–146 Ma), and islands gradually rose out of the ocean. Ginkgo trees and cycads were plentiful during this period. In West Antarctica, coniferous forests dominated through the entire Cretaceous period (146–66 Ma), though Southern beech became more prominent towards the end of this period. Ammonites were common in the seas around Antarctica, and dinosaurs were also present, though only three Antarctic dinosaur genera (Cryolophosaurus and Glacialisaurus, from the Hanson Formation,and Antarctopelta) have been described to date. It was during this period that Gondwana began to break up.
The cooling of Antarctica occurred step wise, as the continental spread changed the oceanic currents from longitudinal equator-to-pole temperature-equalizing currents to latitudinal currents that preserved and accentuated latitude temperature differences. Africa separated from Antarctica around 160 Ma, followed by the Indian subcontinent, in the early Cretaceous (about 125 Ma). By the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 Ma, Antarctica (then connected to Australia) still had a tropical to subtropical climate, complete with a marsupial fauna. About 40 Ma Australia-New Guinea separated from Antarctica, so that latitudinal currents could isolate Antarctica from Australia, and the first ice began to appear. During the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event about 34 million years ago, CO2 levels have been found to be about 760 ppm and had been decreasing from earlier levels in the thousands of ppm. Around 23 Ma, the Drake Passage opened between Antarctica and South America, resulting in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that completely isolated the continent. Models of the changes suggest that declining CO2 levels became more important. The ice began to spread, replacing the forests that then covered the continent.
Since about 15 Ma, the continent has been mostly covered with ice. Intermittent warm periods allowed Nothofagus shrubs to cling to the Sirius group in the Dominion Range as late as 3-4 Ma. After that the Pleistocene ice-age covered the whole continent and destroyed all major plant life on it.
The geological study of Antarctica has been greatly hindered by the fact that nearly all of the continent is permanently covered with a thick layer of ice. However, new techniques such as remote sensing, ground-penetrating radar and satellite imagery have begun to reveal the structures beneath the ice. Geologically, West Antarctica closely resembles the Andes mountain range of South America.The Antarctic Peninsula was formed by uplift and metamorphism of sea bed sediments during the late Paleozoic and the early Mesozoic eras. This sediment uplift was accompanied by igneous intrusions and volcanism. The most common rocks in West Antarctica are andesite and rhyolite volcanics formed during the Jurassic period. There is also evidence of volcanic activity, even after the ice sheet had formed, in Marie Byrd Land and Alexander Island. The only anomalous area of West Antarctica is the Ellsworth Mountains region, where the stratigraphy is more similar to the eastern part of the continent. East Antarctica is geologically varied, dating from the Precambrian era, with some rocks formed more than 3 billion years ago. It is composed of a metamorphic and igneous platform which is the basis of the continental shield. On top of this base are various modern rocks, such as sandstones, limestones, coal and shales laid down during the Devonian and Jurassic periods to form the Transantarctic Mountains. In coastal areas such as Shackleton Range and Victoria Land some faulting has occurred. The main mineral resource known on the continent is coal.It was first recorded near the Beardmore Glacier by Frank Wild on the Nimrod Expedition, and now low-grade coal is known across many parts of the Transantarctic Mountains. The Prince Charles Mountains contain significant deposits of iron ore. The most valuable resources of Antarctica lie offshore, namely the oil and natural gas fields found in the Ross Sea in 1973. Exploitation of all mineral resources is banned until 2048 by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. It should be noted that the series is set in 2048.
Antarctica is the coldest of Earth's continents. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. For comparison, this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation; the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year, on average. Temperatures reach a minimum of between −80 °C (−112 °F) and −90 °C (−130 °F) in the interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 5 °C (41 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) near the coast in summer. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent, leaving the center cold and dry. Despite the lack of precipitation over the central portion of the continent, ice there lasts for extended time periods. Heavy snowfalls are not uncommon on the coastal portion of the continent, where snowfalls of up to 1.22 metres (48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded. At the edge of the continent, strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. In the interior, however, wind speeds are typically moderate. During summer, more solar radiation reaches the surface during clear days at the South Pole than at the equator because of the 24 hours of sunlight each day at the Pole. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic for three reasons. First, much of the continent is more than 3 kilometres (2 mi) above sea level, and temperature decreases with elevation in the troposphere. Second, the Arctic Ocean covers the north polar zone: the ocean's relative warmth is transferred through the icepack and prevents temperatures in the Arctic regions from reaching the extremes typical of the land surface of Antarctica. Given the latitude, long periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world. Third, the Earth is at aphelion in July (i.e., the Earth is furthest from the Sun in the Antarctic winter), and the Earth is at perihelion in January (i.e., the Earth is closest to the Sun in the Antarctic summer). The orbital distance contributes to a colder Antarctic winter (and a warmer Antarctic summer) but the first two effects have more impact. The aurora australis, commonly known as the southern lights, is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. Another unique spectacle is diamond dust, a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies, so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. A sun dog, a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon, is a bright "spot" beside the true sun.
Each year a large area of low ozone concentration or "ozone hole" grows over Antarctica. This hole covers almost the whole continent and was at its largest in September 2008, when the longest lasting hole on record remained until the end of December.The hole was detected by scientists in 1985 and has tended to increase over the years of observation. The ozone hole is attributed to the emission of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs into the atmosphere, which decompose the ozone into other gases. Some scientific studies suggest that ozone depletion may have a dominant role in governing climatic change in Antarctica (and a wider area of the Southern Hemisphere).Ozone absorbs large amounts of ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere. Ozone depletion over Antarctica can cause a cooling of around 6 °C in the local stratosphere. This cooling has the effect of intensifying the westerly winds which flow around the continent (the polar vortex) and thus prevents outflow of the cold air near the South Pole. As a result, the continental mass of the East Antarctic ice sheet is held at lower temperatures, and the peripheral areas of Antarctica, especially the Antarctic Peninsula, are subject to higher temperatures, which promote accelerated melting. Models also suggest that the ozone depletion/enhanced polar vortex effect also accounts for the recent increase in sea-ice just offshore of the continent.
There is an estimated population of a little over two hundred in the Oaega tribe. This is because of the high fatality rate in infants and young children, as well has elders. There isn't much diversity any more in the population, as they have been fairly isolated from society. Because of this, there are arranged marriages. They seem to have grasped the "gene pool" concept, and thus don't allow families to mix very often. There aren't many people to account for in this case.