Questions tagged [cataclysms]

For questions about an event that causes a major disruption in a world or area.

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9 votes
13 answers
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If 30% of global military spending for the next 30 years were instead spent on an "intelligent life" backup colony, where should we site it and why? [closed]

Some industry leaders have proposed that AI poses a risk of extinction. Suppose some kind of an AI-related incident occurs that really scares humanity into action, and that this causes the world's ...
phil1008's user avatar
  • 257
2 votes
3 answers
187 views

Is it plausible for a landmass to shatter in a tectonic/volcanic cataclysm?

In George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the land of Valyria was transformed from peninsula to archipelago by a volcanic cataclysm followed by earthquakes, tidal waves, a miasma of smoke ...
Fictotum's user avatar
  • 319
5 votes
4 answers
487 views

How many impacts to kill 90% of the human race?

Present day Earth is attacked by a volley of relativistic impactors. Each is designed to hit the surface1 with a yield of 1 gigaton TNT equivalent. They're also poorly aimed. None are destined for any ...
BMF's user avatar
  • 6,530
4 votes
2 answers
350 views

A 1:1 tidally locked world begins to spin. What sorts of non-solar natural disasters occur?

As stated a tidally locked world that has complete 1:1 begins to spin slowly. It starts slowly, a 2:1 ratio that steadily ramps up over the course of a month to one rotation every month, which would ...
Quinn's user avatar
  • 1,196
1 vote
2 answers
137 views

How long would it take for the air to escape from a punctured dome habitat?

It’s the 26th century, and scientists on a barren planet have decided to make the Alpha Centauri Book of World Records by conducting the galaxy’s largest social experiment. These scientists construct ...
user98816's user avatar
  • 8,531
3 votes
12 answers
2k views

How to make advanced future humans extinct/get rid of them? [closed]

Before you VTC, some things to address: Yes I know, this question has been asked before, but my question has some specific requirements, and I haven't seen a good answer to fits the requirements in ...
KaffeeByte's user avatar
  • 1,692
-3 votes
2 answers
104 views

what cosmic event could teleport a solar system? [closed]

In a project I am mulling over, humanity now inhabits the dense core region of a globular cluster. They did not colonise this cluster; some cosmic event actually teleported the sun, moon and earth (...
user98816's user avatar
  • 8,531
6 votes
6 answers
682 views

How do we stop a gray goo disaster? [duplicate]

Let us imagine a scenario where the apocalypse has come in the form of gray goo: tiny nanotech replicators that are set to consume all the biomass on Earth while replicating themselves. Humans, oddly ...
user98816's user avatar
  • 8,531
0 votes
2 answers
212 views

Disasters to prompt the bettering of civilisation [closed]

so, being a cynic as well as a speculative biologist and all-round sci-if fan, I believe that the scenario I want to reach in my project, where humanity has restored the Earth’s biosphere and climate, ...
user98816's user avatar
  • 8,531
4 votes
3 answers
395 views

Would this fire-based magical catastrophe turn a forest region into a desert?

A massive magic ritual involving the nation's greatest spellcasters utilizing an entire city as their focus, either through miscalculation or sabotage, inadvertently open a massive portal into the ...
goat_fab's user avatar
  • 143
2 votes
1 answer
77 views

How can plants spread to an extraterrestrial body without human assistance? [duplicate]

The plants can sense worsening ecological conditions in 2022. They need to germinate beyond planet earth. Assuming they can survive in space, germinate in extraterrestrial soil, and the like, how can ...
Jacob Valdez's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
341 views

Jupiter-Earth wormhole cataclysm

I'm revisiting an old worldbuilding project of mine where enormous, Lovecraftian monsters arrive at Earth through a wormhole with one endpoint embedded in Jupiter's atmosphere, and I'm unsure about ...
BMF's user avatar
  • 6,530
6 votes
4 answers
524 views

Moon hit strong enough to put it in a slow spin?

I’m building a world nearly equal to earth; i need a catastrophic event that make the moon start spinning breaking the tidal lock, a really slow spin, like 500 years for a full spin. i thought about a ...
Michele Fornasari's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
166 views

What could cause the land masses of earth to move freely around?

In the story I'm making that takes place on an alternate reality of earth in the 1300s, there is an all powerful being that makes all humans immortal. later on he gets angry that not everybody is ...
sociocat's user avatar
  • 389
6 votes
6 answers
364 views

What would cause oceans to disappear?

I'm writing a story that happens on a dry and arid planet that has only a few oasis's where life can thrive. Life on this world either lives in the oases or lurks in the sand waiting for migrating ...
LiveInAmbeR's user avatar
  • 10.6k
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Trying to survive a passing neutron star by burrowing deep in the planet's crust?

Situation: My colony is threatened by a passing neutron star. It turns out this planet is part of a binary system and once every several hundred years it passes by a neutron star, which irradiates its ...
marmel's user avatar
  • 814
10 votes
10 answers
2k views

What kind of catastrophic phenomena could cause a solar system to be wiped out with little to no warning?

It's a pretty simple question: imagine you have a solar system about the same size as our current one. This solar system is close enough to nearby colonies that most observatories can see the planets ...
Mandelbrot's user avatar
  • 1,583
27 votes
7 answers
9k views

If all natural sources of oxygen production stop, how long do we have?

One day on planet Earth, for reasons that are not immediately apparent to the population, all natural sources of oxygen production stop producing oxygen. No new oxygen is output from any natural ...
Gherkin's user avatar
  • 381
2 votes
2 answers
433 views

Effect of an asteroid impact on a nuclear power plant?

I want to write a story about a thought experiment that I have on the other day : What kind of catastrophe will happen if an asteroid, let just say about 70 meters in diameter, penetrated Earth's ...
Mister OwO's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
265 views

Jupiter Leaks Into Earth

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 ...
BMF's user avatar
  • 6,530
4 votes
4 answers
3k views

What would happen if the ISS made an uncontrolled re-entry through Earth's atmosphere? [closed]

Total annihilation? Global impact? Localised consequences? To give my question a little more context: the International Space Station (ISS) is supposed to be retired sometime in 2020 due to having ...
menecio's user avatar
  • 403
3 votes
4 answers
357 views

What would be the most effective way for a parasitic alien lifeform to spread and grow on a post-apocalyptic Earth?

The background is that Earth is the victim of a massive comet strike, that wipes out a large portion of humanity (let's say 80-90%). Let's say that the comet was carrying an alien parasite that's a ...
Faz's user avatar
  • 1,385
7 votes
18 answers
3k views

How does an alien race from a dying world annihilate most of humanity to colonize the planet for themselves? [closed]

The Stackexhangerians live on a habitable, earth-like planet near Alpha Centauri. Problem is that their world is dying. Let's say it was attacked by yet another race of hostile aliens, and most of ...
Faz's user avatar
  • 1,385
7 votes
1 answer
521 views

What is the largest dragon that could take off without destroying the planet?

Inspired by this answer: Suppose there is an enormous dragon sleeping underground (let's not worry about the biomechanics of how such a creature could exist). One day, it wakes up, shakes the earth ...
Tam Coton's user avatar
  • 357
3 votes
4 answers
189 views

Intelligent life wiped out in a binary system with a neutron star?

For the purposes of my story, I have created the following setting. An Earth-like planet orbits a binary star system made up of a Sun-like star and a neutron star. For the majority of time (hundreds ...
marmel's user avatar
  • 814
9 votes
6 answers
1k views

Could we build a massive “Ark” type space station with current technology?

Armageddon is coming. A giant Texas-sized meteorite on a collision course with planet Earth is discovered in 2020. It will hit Earth in 2030 and will wipe out 90% of living things including humanity. ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 4,136
6 votes
1 answer
286 views

Effects of a close approach with a non-pulsar neutron star?

My hard-ish SF story requires an event that would effectively render the entire solar system completely uninhabitable for some time (i.e. retreating underground for a few millennia won't help), but ...
MG1981's user avatar
  • 385
3 votes
3 answers
392 views

What kind of extinction event could solve Global Warming?

The world I'm creating will be referred to as E. Current E population is growing exponentially, and the population will become completely unsustainable soon. Global Warming is also increasing ...
user45266's user avatar
  • 294
3 votes
2 answers
429 views

Could a ~150 mile impact basin form from a small object imact?

Could a ~150 mile (240 kilometers) crater form from a small object impact? So the object impacting the site of the crater is a human shape and not able to be destroyed. The location of the impact is ...
SlothsAndMe's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

What amount of forrest-fire in square km or metric tons, would be necesary to bring oxygen levels below 19.5% that humans require to stay alive? [closed]

I read that oxygen makes up 21% of the Earth's atmosphere. I'm guessing it would take a lot of burning to decrease that level, but I am not sure how to calculate that. The problem is: Roughly 400 ...
roxana_z's user avatar
  • 117
4 votes
4 answers
131 views

Cataclysmic cloud of asteroid bits

I am wanting my 32km x ~7.5km buried space habitat to be hit with a cataclysmic disaster which changes things from everyday life to a survival lifestyle. I would like the station to be damaged to the ...
Sam Washburn's user avatar
  • 2,118
4 votes
2 answers
522 views

What would happen if a little less than half of the moon crashed into the Atlantic ocean? [duplicate]

Let's say an asteroid hit the moon and broke it in half. One half remains where the moon usually is relative to Earth, and the other half is flung at Earth near the equator, in the Atlantic ocean. ...
Comet's user avatar
  • 49
30 votes
15 answers
7k views

How old do surviving children need to be to keep human civilization from failing?

This question is inspired by several similar questions on this site. The scenario: at one moment, all people above the age X disappear without a trace. How low this X can be that human civilization ...
Alexander's user avatar
  • 42.2k
1 vote
5 answers
150 views

Destruction of space colonist's technology

Colonists from Earth colonized an exoplanet and for a few decades everything was fine, but one day Earth is destroyed by a nuclear war or whatever, so no more communication, help etc with it. Then, ...
Jean-Abdel's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
366 views

Every murderer and rapist in the world vanished without a trace. How many people is that? [closed]

In a worldwide catastrophe, every single murderer and rapist just vanished from the world at the same time. Nothing left behind, either dust, clothes, or whatever they were carrying at the moment. ...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
352 views

Humanity surviving on a sunless planet

My world was once analogous to our own Earth, where life evolved in the light and heat of a nearby star. Unfortunately, a cataclysmic event knocked the planet out of orbit and sent it spiraling as a ...
Aornar's user avatar
  • 73
4 votes
2 answers
317 views

How long would it take for society to readjust after half of human population suddenly ceases to exist? [closed]

How or why this happens is outside the scope of the question, but suppose one day roughly half of the human race vanishes out of the blue. The "disappearance" happens completely randomly, with no ...
Hankrecords's user avatar
  • 4,687
-4 votes
1 answer
188 views

All male politicians dead [closed]

All the male politicians have died in their sleep within a 24 hour period. Assuming no male will enter politics again, what will be the implications of this in different countries around the world ...
Ethaba's user avatar
  • 349
-1 votes
2 answers
758 views

If 35% of the world's population died overnight, how far back would society be set? [closed]

The promise is a virus of some sort (TBD) takes out all the children and a percentage of adults in a fairly short amount of time (hours to days). Hand Waved (for now) as an immune system thing (...
amflare's user avatar
  • 1,343
15 votes
11 answers
2k views

What apocalyptic event would leave a small percentage of humanity alive, but set it back a few hundred years? [closed]

Specifically, I'm looking for an event or catastrophe which happens quickly (climate change is too slow, I mean a full on cataclysmic middle-of-the-night sort of deal) leads to a near-extinction of ...
F Pistoia's user avatar
  • 151
-3 votes
1 answer
88 views

Oceanic Hostage Negotiation [closed]

Help! The moon was a spaceship all along, and it's inhabitants have finally woken up. They say that in order to continue on their travels, they need to take our oceans to create a bubble around their ...
Callum Bradbury's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
310 views

Conditions to make giant storm

In film "The Day After Tomorrow", a giant snowstorm seizes the Earth for days and freezes nearly everything. What I want to know is, that is this possible in current Earth climate and geology? It ...
user avatar
-1 votes
4 answers
281 views

What cataclysmic event would potentially block (or make it very difficult) access from one half of the continent to the other? [closed]

Say there is an Americas-like continent. (The western hemisphere (North America + South America), not the United States of America) A tyrant civilization that pretty much conquered the continent was ...
Sephiran Leon's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
221 views

After the rocks fall

In Nemesis Games, the 5th book of The Expanse series by (pseudonym) James S. A. Corey, However, scientists have stated the meteor which struck the Yucatan peninsula may have been responsible for the ...
Mark Anthony Songer's user avatar
27 votes
17 answers
5k views

How would a primitive society react to a cataclysmic event that disproves their beliefs?

My novel deals with a primitive society, geographically similar to ancient Egypt, based on a planet with rings. The society, known as the Motek, have a very strong sense of order -- everything has a ...
rightangles's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
103 views

Large country-sized landmass transmutation [closed]

So I have a plot in a story I'm writing where a mage turns a large landmass in the middle of a continent - think something like India - suddenly being consumed by a spell and turned into a dense ...
Arfons's user avatar
  • 21
7 votes
7 answers
519 views

What event would kill most of the worlds population at the SURFACE, but spare everyone at the altitude of a commercial jetliner?

I want a realistic event to occur that kills the majority of the Earth's population. However, the nature of this event must not effect humans or machinery currently flying at high altitudes (those of ...
socrates's user avatar
  • 633
2 votes
3 answers
183 views

Equipped with the knowledge we have now, what could a group of people do NOW to survive future climate-change-induced collapse of society? [closed]

Let's say that a group of people know with 100% certainty that the global society will collapse due to a climate-change-induced catastrophe by the year 2050. What actions can they take in order to ...
Sanuuu's user avatar
  • 147
0 votes
3 answers
662 views

Size of asteroid/comet compared to effect on impact

In an Earth-like world I have long pondered building up, the pre-industrial (roughly colonial) society primarily exists on a single continent, roughly the size of Africa. Another continent has been ...
Rayanth's user avatar
  • 123
9 votes
4 answers
727 views

How long would it take a region to geologically settle down after a major cataclysm?

So in my story/world I have a region that is straight up destroyed...demonic magic is nasty stuff. So we have rings Ring 1 (1 is in the middle) This ring has a diameter of about 200 miles. At this ...
James's user avatar
  • 32.8k