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Heating Rocks To Survive
Old 12-10-2013, 09:47 PM   #1
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Heating Rocks To Survive

In the news about couple and children surviving in sub zero temperature with little frostbite:

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“They stayed together and that was the key that allowed them to live through this experience. You don’t see that that often in search and rescue,” said Burke, who has worked search and rescue in Alaska. “They did some pretty unusual things, heating up rocks and things. Staying together, that was a big deal.”
6 survive 2 days in Northern Nevada's rugged cold (watch video) | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com

Now I want to know more about how much heat is given off by heating the rocks in a fire
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:56 PM   #2
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A fully heated reasonably sized rock stays hot for a loooong time. Depending on rock type.....size.....etc. Heck they could have heated a couple of those and put them in the car........put some more rocks on to be heated and rotate.....
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:04 PM   #3
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Wow, great news. 20 deg F below zero there? Dang. They were very smart to stay together and with the vehicle. Burning the tires was a good call, too.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:07 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
In the news about couple and children surviving in sub zero temperature with little frostbite:



6 survive 2 days in Northern Nevada's rugged cold (watch video) | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com

Now I want to know more about how much heat is given off by heating the rocks in a fire
I learned it in the Boy Scouts many years (decades) ago, and when I go camping in cold weather I still put a rock heated in the campfire in the bottom of my sleeping bag to keep my feet warm at night. They release the heat slowly, which would be really useful for the situation they were in.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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....Now I want to know more about how much heat is given off by heating the rocks in a fire
The outside of my woodstove is lined with soapstone which gets hot when the fire burns but retains heat and releases that heat as the fire goes out so while the maximum burn time is ~8 hours the maximum heat life is ~14 hours - between 1 1/2 to 2 times the burn time. (That and the soapstone adds to the attractive look of the stove IMO.

PHOENIX 8612 | Wood Stoves | Hearthstone Stoves
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:16 AM   #6
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I believe I've read that you have to know what you're doing with this and be very careful in real life ? Lots of stones have inclusions and/or a high moisture content that can cause them to shatter or even explode when heated to much and/or to quick.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:26 AM   #7
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I believe I've read that you have to know what you're doing with this and be very careful in real life ? Lots of stones have inclusions and/or a high moisture content that can cause them to shatter or even explode when heated to much and/or to quick.
Very true.
I have a friend who built his own sauna and was cheap enough to just use rocks from his yard instead of the proper kind. A couple of them did explode when heated. No injury, fortunately, but it can easily happen.

I think the safest would be igneous rocks (from lava).
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:41 AM   #8
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Yes, the Boy Scouts do not teach the rock in the sleeping bag thing anymore after too many "incidents"
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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We had an ice storm years ago. No electric for many days. We had gas, but gas does no good if it needs a blower.

So, on our barbeque (natural gas) outside, I heated a bunch of bricks. It worked a little for one room, maybe giving us 5 extra degrees. I think I got warmer from the effort of doing it than the result.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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I think I got warmer from the effort of doing it than the result.
Hence the old adage about a tree warming you up three times.
Once when you cut it (at least before chain saws came along).
Again when you split it (likewise, the old way with an axe).
Finally when you burn it in the fireplace.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
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All this is really interesting. I have read in a solar heating book of rooms built with a slab of rock to absorb the sun's rays during the day and then offer heating at night.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:59 PM   #12
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Impressive, the parents actually had good survival skills. Good to have in the wilderness. Glad they made it.

Heating bricks was a routine back in home country. They were used to warm up the bed before bedtime. Heated on the coal stove then wrapping them in towels and putting them between Down bedding and mattress. Our mattress was essentially two sheets sewn together and stuffed with straw.

No central heat, no insulation of any kind and concrete floor. In winter mornings the pee bucket was always frozen solid. Yeah, the good old days.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:44 PM   #13
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No central heat, no insulation of any kind and concrete floor. In winter mornings the pee bucket was always frozen solid. Yeah, the good old days.
Believe it or not, that accurately describes my childhood in Brooklyn, New York.
An unusual neighborhood, about as far as it's possible to get from Manhattan, but still New York City.

I still have vivid memories of the streets being dug up to install our first sewers when I was about 13 years old.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:30 PM   #14
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Heating bricks was a routine back in home country. They were used to warm up the bed before bedtime. Heated on the coal stove then wrapping them in towels and putting them between Down bedding and mattress. Our mattress was essentially two sheets sewn together and stuffed with straw.

No central heat, no insulation of any kind and concrete floor. In winter mornings the pee bucket was always frozen solid. Yeah, the good old days.
When I was very young, we boiled water and put it in a red rubber hot water bottle and then put that in the bed before climbing in.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:58 PM   #15
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I've never had to heat rocks for warmth, but it's a known survival skill. That family did all the correct things to help their survival. Great for them.

Yes there can be issues heating rocks. The way I understood, the Native American's named these things thundereggs for a reason:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderegg
MRG
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:07 PM   #16
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I've never had to heat rocks for warmth, but it's a known survival skill. That family did all the correct things to help their survival. Great for them.

Yes there can be issues heating rocks. The way I understood, the Native American's named these things thundereggs for a reason:
Thunderegg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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I heard that it's advisable to stay in your vehicle with the windows covered, even if you have to remove clothing to cover the windows, as it will keep you warmer than otherwise. Warm rocks would be an added bonus in this family's situation.

I still recall the sad story of the family lost in the snow in Oregon and the father went to find help after a week or so, and died in the elements. His surviving family was found a bit later. The extra sad thing was that if the father had gone the opposite direction he would have found shelter/help not that far away.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:05 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Koogie View Post
I believe I've read that you have to know what you're doing with this and be very careful in real life ? Lots of stones have inclusions and/or a high moisture content that can cause them to shatter or even explode when heated to much and/or to quick.
You're not supposed to throw rocks in the fire and heat them really hot. That would burn a hole in the sleeping bag. Just put one on the edge of the fire and let it get nice and warm.

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Yes, the Boy Scouts do not teach the rock in the sleeping bag thing anymore after too many "incidents"
If there were "incidents" of exploding rocks, it would be the fault of really stupid bad leaders. I wonder if they teach the Scouts how to split a log these days. "Oh, I forgot to tell him to hit it with the sharp end down!".
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Old 12-12-2013, 12:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
In the news about couple and children surviving in sub zero temperature with little frostbite:



6 survive 2 days in Northern Nevada's rugged cold (watch video) | Reno Gazette-Journal | rgj.com

Now I want to know more about how much heat is given off by heating the rocks in a fire
What a great story! Nice to hear resourcefulness and happy ending in the news for a change.
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