There is a village is going to be punished by a GOD so the snowy mountain around it will be melt in few days (All the snow will be melt in 1-2 day max). The mountain is about 3,000 meters high, covered by 5-8 meters of snow. There are a few rivers running down the mountain.

I prefer to be

  • Natural way (A big volcano erupt in the mountain but will it melt all the snow?)

  • Man-made (like firing a big forest next to but it wouldn't really melt ALL the snow right?)

  • No magic involved
  • the quickest way is preferable.

what is the consequences of this melt ? could cause huge flood? because next to the mountain there is a villagers.

This is an image of how the mountain look likes

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ 3 questions: How tall is the mountain? How deep is the snow/how much does it snow? Are there any rivers running down from the mountain? $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 21 '17 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs about 3,000 meter , 5-8 meter snow , few rivers. the image wasen't helpful ? $\endgroup$ – Moudiz Feb 21 '17 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ It's a bit hard to judge scale from it, and that white top could be anywhere from half a meter to ten meters thick. :D Thanks for the info. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 21 '17 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ Flooding mountainous terrain is somewhere between hard and impossible. For example, in the photo it appears that there is a valley between the village and the mountain; of the snow melts then the water will flow downstream into the sea and not climb to flood the village. You must describe the geography in much more detail. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 21 '17 at 9:47
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    $\begingroup$ Obligatory xkcd what-if: Snow Removal $\endgroup$ – Anketam Feb 21 '17 at 11:42

What you want is an event called a lahar. A lahar occurs when a snow-capped volcano erupts, sending a mixture of volcanic ash, mud, water, and debris barreling down the mountain at frightening speeds.

Lahars are deadly. The water may well be hot, even nearly boiling, so anyone who isn't crushed by debris or drowned by mud can be cooked to death in seconds - and yes, all it takes is a single eruption. No magic required. The eruption may not necessarily melt all the snow, if you don't want it to, but it certainly could if you did want to. It depends entirely on the type and direction of the eruption.

  • $\begingroup$ I love your answer , its so evilish i can use it in part of my story but as you said it wont melt all the snow. $\endgroup$ – Moudiz Feb 21 '17 at 14:40
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't say it won't melt all the snow, just that an eruption does not have to melt all the snow. It all depends on the directions and intensity of the eruption - it's at the writer's discretion. $\endgroup$ – Werrf Feb 21 '17 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ Just to give a real world example of what can happen due to a lahar event, look at the 1985 Nevado del Ruis eruption. Eruption melted glaciers on the volcanoes summit and generated lahars that killed 23.000 people.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/Nevado.html $\endgroup$ – Sarriesfan Feb 21 '17 at 22:28

OK. Assuming 20 degrees at the bottom of the mountain the top is going to be at about -9.4. If we assume a constant temperature drop then we cross the line of 0 degrees at about 2000 meters, so the last 1000 meters of mountain is going to be snow. I'm going to simplify some of the maths here and assume that all the snow is at an average temperature of about -4 degrees (as more snow will be lower down the mountain.

I'm also going to assume a uniform thickness of 5 meters and a perfectly conical mountain with 35 degree slopes (snow will likely start to slide down if it's much more). That gives us a volume of 525,000,000 m3 of snow.

Now this is where my assumptions start to get a bit hazy, since snow can be anywhere from 0.1g/m3 to 0.8g/m3. I'm going to assume about 0.5 to account for old compressed snow and new fallen snow (plus it makes the maths easier). That makes 2,625,000 kg of frozen water overall. We need 4,395,300,000 j to heat all the snow up to 0 degrees (remember my naive assumption about average temperature) and an extra 87,412,500,000 j to actually melt the ice once it's at 0 degrees (hooray for enthalpy of fusion), giving a total of roughly 91.8 Gj required to melt all the ice into water.

1 j/s is 1W. There are 86400 seconds in a day. So you need a power source of at least 10.6 MW directly (and constantly) applied to melt the snow in a day.

This raises a few issues, but also a nice possibility:

Not many natural (earthbound) things have that kind of power output. Even volcanic eruptions don't usually maintain that level of heat for long (though it has been known to happen the issue then is the volcanic eruption itself, not the water). The sun gives us 1.3 KW per meter, nowhere near enough to even heat the ice to 0 degrees in a day. Artificial means (like burying a nuclear reactor) can provide that much heat, but unless they're carefully regulated you can run into all manner of issues.

But what about geothermal energy?

The biggest geothermal plant in the world is currently the Geysers installation in the USA, with 22 plants and a total capacity of 1500MW. Divide that by 22 (again, naive, but I'm going with it) and you get 68MW. If a magma pool rose and started to heat subterranean water sources you could theoretically have a series of steam vents throughout the mountain venting superheated steam left right and centre. If the mountain is mostly scree underneath the snow (rather than solid rock) then this steam can be fairly efficiently routed to all of the snow, leading to a whole lot of melted water. Naturally some places would get more heat and thus melt faster, and some slower, and I can't even begin to predict the vagaries of that, but hopefully this gives you some idea of the numbers involved.

This would lead to 2625 tonnes of water starting to cascade down the mountain. Unless the rivers off the mountain can cope with over a hundred tonnes of water an hour or your village is on high ground you can expect that they are not going to fare too well.

Quick note: My maths was done hastily and naively. If anyone spots a mistake/wants to improve it, feel free

  • $\begingroup$ so as understand your solution is plant a nuclear plant beneath the mountain eh ? $\endgroup$ – Moudiz Feb 21 '17 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @moudiz: noo.. My solution is have an underground magma pocket rise and start to boil off a subterranean lake, the nuclear power plant but was for comparison of energy. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 21 '17 at 15:09


Water is surprisingly hard to melt, all things considered, but an 8-meter-deep snowpack screams "avalanche" to me. It's bound to have a weak layer in it somewhere, and with 3km of altitude above the village, an avalanche would be moving extremely fast by the time it reaches the bottom.

You can use whatever means you like to kick things off; maybe a small meteorite impact or a lightning strike for that proper "divine punishment" feel.

  • $\begingroup$ Nice, though there is a forest between the mountain and the village according to one of the comments, and forests are exceptionally good at slowing avalanches down. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 21 '17 at 11:02

In Iceland it is well known that volcanoes can melt the ice cap and generate massive flooding.

A jökulhlaup (Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈjœːkʏl̥øip]) (literally 'glacier run') is a type of glacial outburst flood. It is an Icelandic term that has been adopted in glaciological terminology in many languages. It originally referred to the well-known subglacial outburst floods from Vatnajökull, Iceland, which are triggered by geothermal heating and occasionally by a volcanic subglacial eruption, but it is now used to describe any large and abrupt release of water from a subglacial or proglacial lake/reservoir.

So my obvious suggestion would be go for the volcanic eruption. It will cause huge flood, then the volcanic ashes landing on the wet ground will wrap all the landscape in a cement like cover.

If the eruption is massive all will then be covered by the lava flow, for the joy of the archeologists.

If the mountain sides are steep as soon as the snow in contact with the hot surface will melt you will have a huge avalanche. This will prevent other snow from melting, but on the other side will generate a nice snow cap on whatever dares to stop the falling mass.

  • $\begingroup$ how much time it will melt the snow ? $\endgroup$ – Moudiz Feb 21 '17 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ If the eruption is big enough surely there are bigger things to worry about than flooding? ;D $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 21 '17 at 10:27
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs, I just made my laundry, I want my towel to be dry ;) $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '17 at 10:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Moudiz, it can take hours. Thermal inertia of ice is big, but thermal content of molten lava is way bigger $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '17 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ Plus you get fun effects like superheated steam explosions flinging clumps of molten lava into the air over and over like some demented bouncing bomb... $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 21 '17 at 10:39

A meteor could strike above the mountain and blow the snow out of it, like the Tungunska event. It would not really melt but snow would be disseminated all around on hundreds of kilometers, and the meteor would be seen as an act of god because of its origin from the heavens.

(English not my first language, dadadi dadada).


An orbital strike.

Their GOD is really an advanced intelligence with orbital platforms. Once angered it launches kinetic bombardment at the mountain. The kinetic impact imparts high temperatures and force waves. The combination of heat, melted water, debris and shock wave create an avalanche / land slide.

Truly Global Orbital Destructor has spoken.


The resulting fallout would be a debris cloud that darkens the sky, boiling water and sludge rushing down the mountain destroying everything in sight. Nearby villages, roads, and farms are utterly destroyed. Relief efforts are quickly launched, but the fear is crippling. Depending on the time frame and level of advancement, food & water shortages would likely start as a result of the loss of farms and the foulment of the water. Modern and industrialized societies could cope with this issue by airvaccing or shipping in supplies, but 3rd world or past societies could not.

Also, since I am assuming this is in Japan, the stigma of being injured would likely create a new class of undesirables who were punished by GOD.


There have been a couple of meteor answers but I find them unsatisfactory--the main disaster you will get from them is the blast wave, not the water.

Thus I will propose a somewhat different version of meteor: The impacting body consists of many iron (or heavier) chunks stuck together by lighter material whose nature doesn't matter. Furthermore, we want it to come in steep which means near dawn or dusk.

As it punches into the atmosphere it will heat and explode (think of the Chelyabinsk meteor, although this will happen at lower altitude) but the metal chunks within will be dispersed but not destroyed. They hit the mountain. Rather than one big boom you have a whole bunch of smaller booms. The energy is transferred to the snowpack much more efficiently than if it was one big rock.


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