Questions tagged [deserts]

For questions about the formation and existence of deserts, how civilizations survive in them, creatures of the desert, and related topics.

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Could a hot desert plausibly exist in this location?

I'm attempting to construct a world such that a hot desert like the Sahara exists in the region outlined in yellow. The same map depicting prevailing winds (thick arrows) and ocean currents (thin ...
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22 votes
5 answers
4k views

In a desert made of sugar, what would happen if it rained?

The next setting I'm working on is a desert made entirely of sugar. It's unclear how this came to be, but it's created a unique and bizarre landscape. Something I've been considering, is what might ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Could a Massive Freshwater Lake and River System Exist in a Desert Environment?

In my book series, there is this lake called Lake Pheron. Lake Pheron's surface is located about 2,200 feet above sea level in a mostly flat, inland area called the Tangolian Desert. This desert is ...
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16 votes
14 answers
4k views

How to Supply a City on top of a Vertical Cliff?

In my fantasy series, there’s this city called Pharcos situated on top of nearly vertical 3,500ish foot high sandstone cliffs above the river it uses for water. This river, called the Clazelis, along ...
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-1 votes
4 answers
189 views

How could farmland be turned into a desert?

How would an agricultural world be desertified? I have a community of farmers, and the environment is working against them but they are making it work with nitrates (got the idea from Disney Zorro ...
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8 votes
4 answers
283 views

How does a plain surrounded by desert get rain?

So, in my world, I have a city built in a plain surrounded by a desert. The plain got to be there by magic and general hand waving and was sustained in a similar way. At some point, that stopped being ...
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6 votes
5 answers
4k views

Can snow dunes form naturally?

Suppose I have a very big area as big as Gobi desert and it is windy all years round, but it is covered in snow instead of sand since Earth is experiencing another ice age right now. I am not sure if ...
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10 votes
6 answers
994 views

How to build roads in a windy desert

The world is a desert, and it's awfully windy. The wind is as unpredictable as possible with an average speed around 150km/h. It's usual to see wind reaching 300km/h once every three days. The human ...
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10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Could a river civilization develop in a cold desert climate?

There seems to be a trend with the oldest civilizations (Civilizations being urbanized societies with a government and social heirarchy) starting around river valleys surrounded by desert; the ...
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2 votes
4 answers
260 views

Could an empire be built around a desert?

I'm trying to make an empire that has a large (almost as big as the Sahara) desert in the middle of its boundaries. The capital would be found in the north near a mountain range, and the empire ...
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0 votes
2 answers
104 views

Can a desert and semi-desert be right beside each other geographically?

One of the countries in my novel is Semi-Arid, but I want it to become more like a hot and dry desert the farther West one travels (like the Sahara). Is this possible? PS. There are mountains to the ...
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10 votes
6 answers
3k views

Can I have sand in a desert that would make it impossible to differentiate between land and horizon?

I am looking for an end-result where one would not be able to differentiate between land and horizon. And I want it in a desert. So either some new, exotic material has to make-up the sand. Or it has ...
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  • 587
2 votes
2 answers
135 views

Weather in a desert planet

Neviat, it is a desert planet with 81.5% of the Earth's atmospheric pressure and 80% of its gravity, it is generally dry but has many lakes and oases at its poles, the temperature across the latitudes ...
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  • 565
19 votes
5 answers
3k views

Making stillsuits less fantasy - how to dump the heat?

As we all know1, stillsuit as described in the books would cook the user. Water would carry heat away from the body, but then it would be caught again, and again with the heat. Assuming energy is not ...
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can a plant or alien plant have fruit and shoot seeds as well?

On my planet Chlorea there are desserts and in them is a tree-like plant. During the dry season nothing really happens; the plant saves water, they lose leaves to save water etc. But in the wet season ...
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4 votes
2 answers
196 views

How to explain the presence of tropical rainforest and temperate forest at an equal latitude near the equator, in a fictional world?

That's the rough outline of my fantasy world. The entire location is somewhat shifted towards the Northern Hemisphere because you can't see the polar ice caps of the southern hemisphere. Now, the dark ...
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5 votes
4 answers
377 views

Vehicles vs work animals in a desert planet

Would animals like camels and horses be more useful/practical in the deep desert than vehicles like dune buggies and sandrails? Basically, I have a planet that's mostly desert surrounded with rock ...
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15 votes
6 answers
4k views

Are snow caps plausible for a mountain range in an extremely large desert?

I have a very large desert, approximately 15 000 km across from west to east (the north-south distance is around 4 000 km, although it's at a bit of an angle). The desert is bounded at one edge by a ...
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6 votes
3 answers
187 views

Can a continent be completely desert?

I want my continent to be at least 90% desert. It has a square shape with several peninsulas. Kinda like Australia, but more than 3 times bigger and it's not flat(well it does have flat areas, but not ...
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7 votes
4 answers
370 views

Can I eliminate a dry continental high pressure spot inland by adding a huge body of water in the middle of it?

Can I eliminate a dry continental high pressure spot inland by adding a huge body of water in the middle of it? Like this sample picture: The red arrows around the continent are warm ocean currents ...
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  • 777
5 votes
4 answers
158 views

Feasibility of a sand gliding creature?

Would it make sense for a desert creature to glide along the sand to traverse long distances? There's a number of gliding animals in nature, most of which use it as an efficient travel option for long ...
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27 votes
10 answers
4k views

Is it possible for the soil of a desertic exoplanet to be so copper rich that its surface is mostly covered in green-blue deserts?

Here on Earth, Mars and most of others if not all terrestrial planets in the universe, iron is their most common metallic element because iron is in general the most common metal in the universe. Here ...
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9 votes
9 answers
2k views

How can nations control large plains and deserts?

How can organized nations in a fantasy setting control large land masses (20-30,000 km²) made of deserts, rocky deserts, and drymuds? By control, I mean enforcing laws, defending it during conflicts, ...
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to create a rainforest and desert in proximity to each other such that the desert can be hottest or coldest possible on an Earth-like planet

I have created a tall mountain range and am creating a forest on one side and desert on another. Can this forest be a rainforest? If so, are there any examples on Earth where rainforests and deserts ...
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  • 587
1 vote
1 answer
196 views

Is This Desert Planet Realistic?

Okay, I have a desert planet that orbits an M0 star and an G0 star at an circumbinary orbital radius of .9 AU from the shared center of gravity of its twin suns. It’s tilted on its axis by 23.5 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
68 views

What would be the effects on wildlife of an atomic bomb on a Sahelian or Saharan grassland or desert?

So, I'm coming up with a world in which, after a nuclear war in Africa, there is a bunker in the country of Chad. The main characters leave the bunker as the radioactivity has mostly worn off (after ...
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1 vote
1 answer
123 views

What would be the effects on terrain of an atomic bomb on a Sahelian or Saharan grassland or desert?

So, I'm coming up with a world in which, after a nuclear war in Africa, there is a bunker in the country of Chad. The landscape has been affected by over 50 atomic bombs. The main characters leave the ...
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10 votes
3 answers
655 views

Time estimate for converting desert to savanna/forest

I'm building a world in whose history climactic changes causes a region of desert to start seeing regular rain. This causes the native culture of the desert people to also change along with it, ...
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5 votes
3 answers
194 views

How to Cause a Hydrosphere Apocalypse Part I The Great Drought

This is part one of a two part question. Part two can be found her (How to Cause a Hydrosphere Apocalypse Part II The Great Flood) Desert planets are a staple of science fiction. And while we have ...
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14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why might an area of land be so hot that it smokes?

I'm attempting to design a desert area that could almost constantly be covered in a thin layer of smoke. It does not block out the sun but instead sticks closer to the ground. The land is hot, arid, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
334 views

Are the deserts in this continent realistically placed?

I have asked previously how I could create an earth-like world with as many deserts as possible in it. Based on the answers I got, I designed this continent, and asked for a reality-check, but the ...
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What temperatures would occur several meters below different types of deserts?

What temperatures can one expect 50-150 meters below different types of deserts? The rocks in my campaign heavily feature iron sediments, like in Australia, but since this is a fantasy world I am open ...
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1 vote
1 answer
124 views

what I need to make mirage to constantly occur in sand desert?

I want to make a desert known to always generate mirages (I don’t mean it necessary occur during night though, only during a day is fine too, but if it possible for mirages to happen during the night, ...
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  • 8,809
4 votes
2 answers
116 views

Dusty city living

I am writing about a magical-realistic city in Latin America that is very dusty, See: A brief introduction for visitors How do modern humans adapt their lives to urban environments with frequent dust ...
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  • 129
4 votes
2 answers
205 views

Would large enough equatorial continent produce a central desert through sheer size?

As I understand it, the deserts require a number of conditions to occur, leading to the overall decrease in precipitation. And areas around equator usually lack these. While there are some deserts ...
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4 votes
4 answers
286 views

How to maximize the sand depth of a desert planet

NB: There is a related question – What kind of planet could have giant sand worms? – but this one is concerned specifically with the sand. Giant sand worms would be awesome incidental. Assuming a ...
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3 votes
1 answer
77 views

Physics Question: Time needed to melt vast blocks of ice in the desert? [closed]

Please consider a physics question that I am asking here because I have no ability to calculate the answer myself. Given a large cubical mass of water ice is deposited on a desert location on Earth, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
391 views

Hygiene in a Desert-like setting

The setting is a desert-like area, meaning there just enough water for one to drink and not to dry out. How would someone care for hygiene, like wash themselves, when water is a precious rarity? Is ...
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  • 501
4 votes
13 answers
457 views

What could be a valuable resource in an isolated desert, where workforce should be really small in an era before the discovery of electricity?

It's an era before the discovery of electricity and I'm aiming for realism. There is a small desert town of only 15 people by a river and along a strong trade route (so they don't have to produce ...
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1 vote
2 answers
85 views

How does trophy hunting helps in conservation of rare "Poop Bomber" dragon?

In the modern days, World Wildlife Fund has promised a donation of a lump sum of $100 million to save a certain endangered dragon species found only in the Sahara desert. The adult dragon weights 1.5 ...
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5 votes
2 answers
270 views

Possibility of a "hot Mars"

Premise/question Correct me if I'm wrong, or if humans have terraformed the planet by the time you're reading this, but Mars is mostly desert-like. It has large ice caps which contain most of its ...
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2 votes
1 answer
104 views

Implications of ocean basins filled with coral sand

Setting Assume we have a planet with shallow oceans. A fast-growing coral (or any organism with calcium carbonate skeletons) fills the oceans from the bottom up, layer by layer. As the biomass of the ...
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10 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why do villages in my artificial desert need their water delivered by caravan? [closed]

I'm making a strategy RPG, and I'm having trouble justifying the gameplay's core premise in light of some recent developments in the world I've built around it, and I need some help filling in the ...
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6 votes
5 answers
327 views

How would a giant reptile creature hunt in a desert?

I'm talking about place similar to the Jordan desert, where the biggest prey is similar to wild donkeys and antelopes like oryx and gazelles. My creature is 1.92 meters tall and 4 meters long, looks ...
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7 votes
5 answers
302 views

How to get Wood if my story takes place in a desert? [closed]

Okay so my story takes place on a desert planet, and the plot revolves around nomadic people who get from place to place with the help of wooden wagons (think Oregon trail). Well, I need some way for ...
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4 votes
3 answers
188 views

How Would Organic Material Erode If Petrified

So in my world, the main Antagonist has the ability to drain the life from things around her, turning them to stone in the process. That made me wonder how organic material would erode if it were ...
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14 votes
12 answers
690 views

How to dry an ocean planet and turn it into a salty desert?

I have a planet covered with a large shallow ocean, which extends over most of its surface. I want to turn this planet into a great desert, specifically a salty desert (the salts of this desert are a ...
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  • 883
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Northern Great Lakes in an Alternate Island Africa--Would the Sahara DESERT Still be Around?

Recently, I found this map of Africa's paleolakes in the Imaginary Maps reddit: Finding this map was mere coincidence, but this map definitely interests me. Now there have been multiple what-if, ...
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8 votes
2 answers
244 views

What geological processes could form the Crystal Desert on the planet Thra in the Dark Crystal?

The Crystal Desert is a Sahara-like expanse of sand, dotted with numerous large clusters of crystal, and containing numerous monolithic sandstones. What would we expect Thra geologists to determine ...
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  • 427
30 votes
10 answers
8k views

How can glass marbles naturally occur in a desert?

I had a dream that on my alien planet, there was a large desert that had naturally occurring glass marbles in the sand. My dream logic was that the sand was melted into glass and natural weathering ...
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