I create a desert world, but I would like to give it slightly different properties, above all, to turn it from a dry environment into a humid one.

Unfortunately, for some time I have been looking for information that could lead me somewhere, but I find nothing scientifically useful.

What would have to change in the sand itself to be blue and moist, preferably excluding the presence of water and vaporing? Is it possible to create humidity sensu stricto without water? Or anything similar to this gaseous state of water?

I'm aware of Atacama Desert, where fog rolls in from the ocean, preserving high humidity in the air, but that doesn't teach us anything about my idea.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ That's not really going to be possible. The maximum humidity supported is a function of temperature, so if you had high humidity in the day, it would absolutely turn into rain at night, and break the idea of a desert. Deserts are deserts specifically because they lack humidity. Atacama doesn't have fog from the ocean. If it did, it wouldn't be useful for astronomy, and some of the world's biggest telescopes are there. The fog rolling in from the ocean is blocked by the mountains, which is why Atacama is a desert in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – stix
    Aug 3 at 18:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your title asks about a non-arid desert, but your text is mostly concerned about sand that's blue and moist without water and vapor. Which do you need? BTW, the Atacama has very low humidity except when the fog blows in ... $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 3 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, my point was what's in the post itself. Sand that's blue and moist without water and vapor. $\endgroup$ Aug 3 at 18:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could edit the title to be closer to the text. That helps people who might be interested or have interesting answers spot the question more easily. Also, welcome to Worldbuilding! Please take the tour and look over the FAQ -- it'll help. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 3 at 18:36
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How exactly can something be moist (defined as "slightly wet") while also excluding the presence of water? Perhaps you actually intend for some alternative description of the sand's properties. Sticky? Slippery? Clumpy? etc. Figuring that out will help make this possible to answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 3 at 18:41

2 Answers 2



oil sand


If you want a muffin to be moist, you add oil not water. Maybe that would work for your sand. Oil and petrochemicals can be in a world and can seep up to the surface. You can make them gooey and bituminous or lighter. You could even have something where the lighter fractions (hexane type volatility) evaporate in the heat of the day then condense down onto your sand surface, making it slick and greasy. Maybe even with a rainbow gasoline sheen! I propose that in fact your planet be named Greasy.

As regards blue there are plenty of questions here on WB Stack about blue sand. Take your pick.

  • $\begingroup$ @Kilisi - some planets have lots of hydrocarbons from abiogenic sources. Titan has alkane oceans. Just like in our world smashing sugar molecules together in the hot deep earth made high molecular weight "fossil fuels" , on other worlds smashing low molecular weight hydrocarbons together in the hot deep earth might make higher molecular weight molecules. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 4 at 21:36

You'd need to define desert as something else. In olden times a desert was just a piece of wild uncultivated land. Nowadays it means an area that is arid which is incompatible with 'humid'.

But if you just want it devoid of life and plants that's easy enough. Venus and Mars are both deserts. They probably both have water but it's not in liquid form.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .