I'm working on a story about how humans visit and start inhabiting an alien world in Messier 10 that contracted as its core cooled, not quite unlike Mercury. So I was wondering what the effects of the compression would be on the lifeforms of the planet. How would lifeforms adapt to a planet where there are cliffs up to two kilometers high and hundreds of kilometers long? Where could lifeforms on this planet inhabit? My ideas so far:

  • There is a high enough atmospheric pressure for lifeforms to only live on the edges of the cliffs (scarps)

  • The cliffs cut off the environments and there are several zones that evolve seperately (cool idea)

  • The animals could adapt to survive a range of different atmospheric pressures, so that they could survive at a range of altitudes


closed as too broad by L.Dutch, sphennings, Frostfyre, Mołot, Azuaron Jul 13 '17 at 13:28

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please limit your question to one problem. Split them in more linked questions for better clarity. As it is now your question is too broad. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jul 13 '17 at 11:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding SE, JavaScriptCoder, I am puzzled. if the planet contracted as it cooled, wouldn't it have been too hot for life in the first place? Also, compression implies external forces making it contract. Gravity is a possibility, but it would have to be very strong to do so. Sorry to ask, but I'm trying to wrap my head the mechanism involved. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jul 13 '17 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ We have tectonics now, but there are regions of plate creation and destruction. So you're asking what geological forces are in play with purely compression plates? $\endgroup$ – Isaac Kotlicky Jul 13 '17 at 12:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Java it's unclear what you mean by "compression". (Were you thinking of kind of like a neutron star or black hole ??) $\endgroup$ – Fattie Jul 13 '17 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ Mercury is an example of a planet that underwent compression. According to Wikipedia as Mercury's interior cooled, it contracted and its surface began to deform, creating wrinkle ridges and lobate scarps associated with thrust faults. The scarps can reach lengths of 1000 km and heights of 3 km. $\endgroup$ – JavaScriptCoder Jul 14 '17 at 17:35