Questions tagged [cataclysms]

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

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3 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
68 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 ...
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5 votes
3 answers
197 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 ...
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6 votes
4 answers
512 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 ...
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0 votes
2 answers
134 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 ...
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  • 379
6 votes
6 answers
271 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 ...
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  • 8,907
11 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 ...
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  • 580
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 ...
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27 votes
7 answers
8k 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 ...
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  • 381
2 votes
2 answers
265 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 ...
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6 votes
2 answers
228 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 ...
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  • 2,093
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 ...
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  • 403
3 votes
4 answers
315 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 ...
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  • 1,337
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 ...
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  • 1,337
7 votes
1 answer
453 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 ...
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  • 357
3 votes
4 answers
165 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 ...
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  • 580
9 votes
6 answers
852 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. ...
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  • 4,046
6 votes
1 answer
266 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 ...
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  • 385
3 votes
3 answers
369 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 ...
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  • 294
3 votes
2 answers
422 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 ...
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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 ...
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4 votes
4 answers
114 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 ...
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  • 2,098
4 votes
2 answers
508 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. ...
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  • 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 ...
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1 vote
5 answers
138 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, ...
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0 votes
1 answer
356 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. ...
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7 votes
2 answers
325 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 ...
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  • 73
4 votes
2 answers
296 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 ...
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  • 4,637
-4 votes
1 answer
184 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 ...
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  • 349
-1 votes
2 answers
670 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 (...
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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 ...
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  • 151
-3 votes
1 answer
84 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
281 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 ...
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  • 665
-1 votes
4 answers
271 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
213 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 ...
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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
93 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 ...
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  • 21
7 votes
7 answers
501 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 ...
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  • 633
2 votes
3 answers
175 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 ...
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  • 147
0 votes
3 answers
613 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 ...
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  • 123
9 votes
4 answers
681 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 ...
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  • 32.5k
7 votes
1 answer
509 views

Entirely too much mana from the heavens

Time period is renaissance, with the most powerful culture being in a area geographically similar to the middle east. So a cleric was trying to combat a drought in his kingdom using the power of a ...
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  • 2,041
16 votes
16 answers
4k views

How to cause an exodus from the west coast of the United States inland?

What I Need I need to bring about a scenario where most, if not all, of the west coast has been abandoned before the alien-robot-zombie apocalypse wreaks havoc on the world. Sweet, sweet havoc! ...
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  • 11.8k
5 votes
2 answers
587 views

How would people left on a planet that will be destroyed react?

Today I woke up, knowing I would be saved from the destruction of the planet. Instead I learned the exact date and time of my death. My name is Joe Average. The planet I live on is part of a binary ...
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4 votes
2 answers
597 views

How would society react to the impending destruction of its planet?

For those who are interested, here is some background on the planets. There is a binary pair of habitable planets, which are both inhabited by sentient creatures. One is inhabited by reptilians, and ...
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29 votes
11 answers
5k views

A Treasure Chest for your Post-apocalyptic Children

Prior to the point in my story when the nature of the looming apocalypse becomes known, my main character acquires a large (6-foot) air-tight freezer chest, puts it (unplugged) in his basement, fills ...
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  • 68.3k
5 votes
1 answer
528 views

Effect of red giant phase on the Solar System

Scenario run-down. Several billion years from now, Sol has finally exhausted its hydrogen supplies and has entered the red giant phase. It has already been increasing in lumosity for some time and ...
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  • 548
2 votes
3 answers
753 views

What would happen if every human female turned into a cat? [closed]

Imagine a future where your sister, mother, grandma, and possibly even yourself have turned into adorable cats. Science and history have given no apparent hints or evidence that this would have ...
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9 votes
4 answers
866 views

How much destruction could be wrought with the chemical and atomic energies in 30,000 humanoid bodies?

This question is tied to a previous question: Cataclysmic event resulting in a region of glass? In this scenario you have two armies, with a combined strength of roughly 30,000 personnel. Magicians ...
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  • 32.5k
2 votes
1 answer
193 views

Could ancient Atlantean monuments have survived a flood cataclysm?

Lets assume that in antiquity an advanced civilisation like that of the Roman Empire existed on a sizeable island the size of Spain in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This civilisation built large ...
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  • 1,297