A recent question here on SE:WB reminded me of a short story I wrote a long time ago, and has inspired me to revisit the idea.

The premise: A race of massive alien creatures travel from planet to planet, solar system to solar system, via large wormholes embedded in planetary atmospheres (reason being that atmospheres "stabilize" the wormholes, where they would otherwise destabilize and collapse). The wormholes leak the atmospheres of the many connected worlds, leading to homogenized planets over great timescales, "mongrel planets."

In my story, the aliens emerge in our Solar System. First in the outer planets, they work their way through the Solar System, weaving a network of wormholes. Eventually, a wormhole connecting Jupiter and Earth is established. One throat travels through Jupiter's atmosphere at around the 250 kPa mark, and the other travels through the Pacific Ocean and other adjoining oceans, nearest the sea floor where the pressure is greatest.

The wormhole has an effective throat diameter of around 100 meters. It expels Jupiter's atmosphere only (no need to account for any other planetary atmospheres): 88-92% hydrogen, 8-12% helium, and trace amounts of other chemicals such as methane, water vapor, ammonia, carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur, and so on, proportional in quantity to their abundance in Jupiter at the wormhole's altitude.

My question is this: what are the immediate (hours, days) and long term (weeks, months, years) effects of the Jupiter aperture on Earth? I'm specifically interested in the immediate effect on Earth's climate (and what people nearby the event might witness), as well as how Earth's condition might evolve over those weeks and months.

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe...just maybe the stuff used to pry open your wormhole somehow curved spacetime in the vicinity so that there is no gravitational potential in situ. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Dec 26, 2019 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @user6760 For the purposes of the question, the gravity/charge of the wormhole is negligible. In-world, I have other explanations, but they're pretty much irrelevant to the question. $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Dec 26, 2019 at 0:43

2 Answers 2


With what you describe you will actually be venting Earths oceans into Jupiter. Forcefully.

From OP

One throat travels through Jupiter's atmosphere at around the 250 kPa mark,

I take this to mean that om the Jupiter side of the wormhole, the pressure is 250 kPa

the other travels through the Pacific Ocean and other adjoining oceans, nearest the sea floor where the pressure is greatest.

So how much pressure is that? Pressure at sea level is 101 kPa. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_pressure

and it goes up by 1 atmosphere for every 10 meters depth underwater. So 10 meters below the surface it is 202 kPa and 20 meters below the surface it is 303 kPa. You have already exceeded the 250 kPa pressure on the Jupiter size, so water will be flowing to Jupiter.

There is a lot more ocean below that and you have put your wormhole at the bottom of the deepest parts. Assume that is 10,000 meters. That means 1000 atmospheres or 101000 Kpa. A firehose is 5000 Kpa.

You will not completely drain the oceans this way, but when pressures equilibrate they will be about 15 meters deep. That is the formerly (and still) deepest parts though. Most parts will probably drain completely.

It is a good calculus problem to determine rate of pressure change as the ocean levels drop, and with pressure change rate of flow, and with rate of flow thru 100 meter diameter pipe time to drain the ocean. This problem is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Oh, you're right! I should've thought about this more carefully. I wanted the wormhole on Jupiter to be accessible by deorbiting spacecraft (situated not in extreme Jovian depths), but I also wanted Jupiter's atmosphere to expel into Earth's. I'll need to reconcile these things somehow with my story, thanks for the answer! $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Dec 26, 2019 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps the temperature at that altitude (in Jupiter) could lend to vaporization of in-falling seawater, which would work against the dominating ocean pressure, expelling out on Earthside? $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Dec 26, 2019 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ Some rudimentary calculations accounting for temperature seem to confirm your conclusion: Earth leaks into Jupiter. Darn, but, not a big deal, I can just wiggle the parameters around. Thanks again for your answer. $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Dec 26, 2019 at 22:15

Many hundreds of millions of tons of hydrogen and helium would be blasted into the Earth’s oceans every second. This would easily be sufficient to overcome the pressure even at the bottom of the deepest oceans causing a massive and ongoing eruption of gas for miles around. The pressure and the quantity of gas would be such that the ocean would be pushed back from these vents.

Anything living within 10-100 miles would be asphyxiated within minutes. The expansion of such a massive quantity of gas would also cause a massive cooling effect that would start freezing the ocean in the vicinity. The cold gas would expand in all directions eventually forming a low level blanket close to the surface that would spread around the entire planet.

Within seconds or minutes there would probably be a very large explosion as static and lightening ignited some parts of the mixing atmospheres. A blast wave would travel around the planet in hours and devastate most structures and buildings. Given the amount of gas involved it would probably continue to burn being fed by the vent until most of the oxygen in the atmosphere was consumed. The heat released would be more than enough to overcome the initial cooling.

Depending on the exact circumstances and the number of vents the oxygen in the atmosphere would be gone in a few years and probably a lot sooner. The immense heating of all the burning gas would cook everything on the planet and boil vast quantities of the oceans, expanding the atmosphere disrupting and overwhelming all weather systems and air circulation patterns over hours to days.

Over many years and decades the planet would start to cool again after the oxygen had been consumed and cold gases continued to pour in, the pressure would slowly increase and the proportion of hydrogen in the hydrogen nitrogen atmosphere would increase until pressure equilibrium was reached.

  • $\begingroup$ There is not nearly enough oxygen in Earth's atmosphere to burn the colossal amounts of hydrogen needed for builing off the oceans... $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 26, 2019 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ Of course not but it would boil vast quantities $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Dec 26, 2019 at 1:01

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