I want to put a story in place where a country lived underwater, and I am wondering of its viability. Here is the world description:

  • It is a square of 100 km*100 km on the ocean with the weather and the currents of the Atlantic.
  • It is from the surface to 100 meters to 1 kilometer depth (depending on the viability).
  • People (consider them as human shape sharks) are near the billions.
  • They live in columns of habitation that are corners of a central square where common people spend the main part of the day: thus they lived in a matrix of habitations around squares of free space.

My concerns are about the capacity of such a structure, with modern technology, to resist storms, currents, etc... for a long time (over one century). Some maintenance is possible, but it should not be too expensive.

EDIT: More information

  • Any modern material is at your disposal to build the column in which people live.
  • The columns should be able to float by themselves.
  • The little squares surrounded by four columns each are 1 square kilometer or 100 hundred meters wide. Thus you have also the number of columns.
  • The columns are linked by boats at the top and by some sorts of railway at the bottom. The bottom links can help to maintain the stability of the matrix of columns.

About the human shaped sharks: These human-shaped creatures are able to breathe underwater, and lived for a long time in this structure.

The structure has been built on purpose, with plans and the best materials available in 20th century.

The way the raw materials have been maneuvered and transported should not be taken into account in the question. The material could be taken on coral reefs (as said in a comment) or could be from mineral origin (stone) or transformed (steel...).

  • $\begingroup$ How do you consider feeding such many folks on such small space? $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Jun 8 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ You are just describing how much space a structure is taking, and you are asking us to evaluate its durability. It's kind of asking how much a car cost, knowing that apples are red. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jun 8 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ I have not yet considered feeding them, but it is another issue @L Dutch: I added information in the question. Could you be more specific on which information you lacked? $\endgroup$ – totalMongot Jun 8 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ People (considerd them as human shape sharks) Are they swimming and not air breathing, but water breathing ? An underwater city for water breathers is quite a different thing to one for air breathers. Which is it ? $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jun 8 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ They are water breathing, like sharks, but have of human shape which lead them to develop a civilisation and live in underwater buildings. But the point is more about the technocal viability of such buildings with the currents and the storms $\endgroup$ – totalMongot Jun 8 at 9:37

I don't have an answer to your end design question as I don't think it is currently feasible as described (hee hee excuse the pun).

Currents aren't really your problem. As long as you find an area that has a constant, steady current speeds and direction you can take this current condition into account when designing your structures, your buildings can be designed to withstand pretty much any "expected" situation. Current by itself isn't really an issue. What is a problem is the changing of the directions/speeds of the currents and the associated pressures on your structures structural integrity. So find an area that is protected from large unexpected fluxes and has a stable current environments.

The mixing zone is your next issue. Beyond a certain mixing zone the water column is pretty stable and you can expect a more constant stress force on your structures. In the mixing zone, winds and waves will crash into each other and churn up the stresses, more so during storm events (helpful hint, avoid hurricane areas). Your shallower lying/floating structures will be exposed to large amounts of multidirectional stresses. If your structure is too rigid and inflexible it will add stresses to your railway network seabed connectors.

Having a surface floating boat/buoy device with which to hang your structures from, exposes your human sharks to unnessary surface stresses. If you want to go this route, I suggest you submerge the buoy to below the mixing zone, or at least avoid the very top surface mixing zone.

Think of seaweed, it's anchored at the bottom and then grows upwards. It bends in the currents. Some seaweed types have airsacks near the top/edge to help float off the seabed surface. Design your structure to be anchored the seabed in such a way that it can sway to slight fluxes in the current energy, if you wish have a giant floating airsack/buoy of some sort to help keep the structure pointing to the surface. Linking the different strands/columns in a flexible mesh will also help keep things pointed in the right direction. Have the structure so that it is designed to be expanded in the same direction of the prevailing current. It's more lopsided than straight horizontal columns. Think rhombus cubes rather than square cubes.

I'm partial to a solid coral base (old city) and then expanding into more flexible/swaying matrice structure (some sort of flexible coral design) with seasonal seaweed type expansion into the mixing zone that gets redesigned/recreated after every winter storm season.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, your answer is aimed at my concerns. If I correctly understand, you think that the structure could be fixed at the bottom, aimed in the less resistance direction for the dominant currents, and more malleable like seaweed at the top? Also, do you think that separating the "matrix" in multiple little rhombus cubes with no physical links between them, and an anchor for each of them, will help? $\endgroup$ – totalMongot Jun 8 at 15:20

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