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Starsight Release Party ()
#2 Copy

Questioner

Where do gemhearts come from?

Brandon Sanderson

They grow naturally, just like your fingernails grow.

Questioner

Where do they get the resources?

Brandon Sanderson

The rain that falls on Roshar is [hard] water, full of crem that crystalizes. If you drink that water, it gives you the nutrients that you need to make gemhearts.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#3 Copy

leinton (paraphrased)

Is crem made out of calcium carbonate?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, that it was a darker material, and wouldn’t directly correlate to any rocks on Earth

leinton (paraphrased)

Where does it come from?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That’s one of the greater mysteries. Far in the future, scientists on Roshar will start asking that same question.

Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#4 Copy

Questioner

Yesterday you said that crem was actually like Shard poop.

Brandon Sanderson

No, I was saying that it was more like that than what they were saying.

Questioner

It's not really poop?

Brandon Sanderson

No, its not.

Questioner

Dang it, I like poop jokes! Can you make it poop so i can have a poop joke.

Brandon Sanderson

Ok, for the next thirty seconds it is.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 ()
#5 Copy

Jason

How does Roshar keep its rocky terrains? Wouldn't corrosion and vegetation break down the rocks outside of [Shinovar]?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes! Good question. This is why I built the crem from the beginning. That was my first question to myself, and you will actually find that on a geological timescale, that Roshar has drifted! Meaning been worn off on one end and is shrinking a little bit, and then different pieces are growing that way off of different parts. Very slow-scale. The existence of Roshar is not so long that you'd be able to tell much, but you know there've been inches if not feet lost from the eastern portion of Roshar but the dumping of the crem is my perhaps-fantastical science answer to "what happens to erosion". Plants grow, they do crack the stone, they do start to break it down, even Rosharan plants whose roots aren't meant to go deep or things like this, and then crem gets in those cracks, fills it in, sticks the broken pieces back together, and you end up with stone, still. That was my devised answer to having a world that is hit by storms but is also stony. 

This is the same reason coral reefs continue to exist. There's got to be a growth mechanism after things are being weathered a way to make sure that they continue to perpetuate. An above-water coral reef was one of my touchstones for Roshar.