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Questions tagged [deserts]

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

6
votes
4answers
172 views

Water planet turns into desert world without being rendered uninhabitable

A habitable (human could survive in its atmosphere without suits) desert planet which used to have large oceans is quite common in ScFi. I was thinking about the processes which could have been ...
1
vote
2answers
161 views

How can I keep an area next to a mountain range from being a desert?

My world has a continent in the northern hemisphere that lies primarily in the Ferrel cell where the westerly winds are. The continent is fairly large, just a tad bit smaller then than North America. ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Could Earth still survive if we lost almost 90% of all surface water?

I have been toying with the idea that all oceans are gone. Underground water still exists but the Earth has essentially turned into the planet from Dune. My characters all live / survive out where ...
4
votes
4answers
720 views

Could a terrestrial planet have water for a core?

There’s a planet called eaglypt whose surface is 100% barren desert. However, there is a twist: the planet’s core consists of liquid water, and there are a few places where this water seeps through ...
7
votes
4answers
217 views

Natural uncovering of desert ruins

My world has a semi-nomadic people that inhabit a vast sandy desert. Underneath this desert lie the ruins of an enormous metropolis -- a city that was abandoned tens of thousands of years ago. In the ...
5
votes
4answers
262 views

Habitability of a planet with highly variable temperatures

The surface of the planet I have envisioned is almost entirely desert save for several city-sized "oases," or pockets of water, flora, and fauna that do not exist elsewhere. The temperature ...
1
vote
3answers
177 views

How do I build an ancient moisture vaporator?

Let us suppose a world that exists under a harsh red sun. The entire planet, which may once have been fertile, is, in its current state, covered with desert. The civilization living there, which may ...
3
votes
2answers
200 views

Could the World's Rainshadows Have Spiny Forests?

There is no other way around it--Madagascar is an evolutionary uniquety. 80% of the island's species live nowhere else on Earth. Among this uniqueness is a habitat that seems to come out of science ...
6
votes
5answers
682 views

How can a medieval city built in the desert defend against sandworm attacks? [closed]

I'm writing this book series called the Weasel Sagas (link here for more on that) that has this planet called Aurea. Aurea is the planet in this universe most similar geographically to Earth, with ...
1
vote
2answers
278 views

Planet with no rain, only fog, like Chile's Atacama Desert

I'm trying to design a planet with weather conditions similar to the Atacama desert in Chile- mainly in that there's no rain, only fog. From what I understand, in Chile, this is caused by a rain-...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

What would the temperature be like in a black desert?

This is mostly asked out of simple curiosity since this is the backstory of a LARPer’s character within my story and thus has little expectation of scientific rigor. But basically, this character is ...
3
votes
3answers
342 views

Designing an Earth-like alien that can survive the harsh conditions of this desert planet [closed]

The planet or orbits a G type star like the Sun that’s 20 percent brighter than the Sun, it orbits once every 130 days at 0.5 AU with an eccentricity of 0.08, and rotates once every 335 earth-days. ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Would a large delta allow my desert people to feed a continent?

Context : In a world, very similar to our good old Earth, with late medieval technology, a great kingdom has united a whole continent. Except, that is, for a small country, located southernmost of ...
22
votes
14answers
7k views

How to sustain/create a 4 foot tall city?

For my story, I intend to include a city/civilization that is entirely 4 foot tall- with plants, greenery, walkways etc. on top of the connected 'houses'. This city is located in the middle of a ...
1
vote
3answers
105 views

What would be the effect of a world with much less water? [closed]

Say a world has, instead of about 70% water (earth), only 25% water. This would be in the form of one ocean, and all the rivers and lakes. The land has about five mountain ranges, and the planet is ...
0
votes
3answers
176 views

Would agriculture be possible in desert regions before the Roman Empire age?

If so, how would they irrigate the crops? And if not, how did people live in such areas back then?
0
votes
2answers
158 views

Would this region have a desert?

I realized that mountains typically form deserts and lush areas via the rain shadow effect(in other words, most of the rain is on 1 side of the mountain forming a lush area and barely any rain gets to ...
12
votes
8answers
4k views

Medieval town built on the desert side of a mountain range?

Could a medieval town have been built on the desert facing side of a mountain range? Not a Himalaya size mountain, but definitely at least Rocky Mountain size. It's a big desert and is one of the ...
4
votes
3answers
185 views

Preparing human colonists for a desert planet with a red giant

Assuming humanity found a planet they could travel to and was suitable for colonization, how would scientists re-engineer the human colonists for life on this new world? Planet details: It's ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

How would I make two biomes seem realistic as they change into one another? [duplicate]

I am building a world where there is a big desert and the next biome over is a swamp. The desert goes for miles, and the swamp is also huge. I know that some biomes do not go together, such as a Polar ...
21
votes
10answers
4k views

What would cause a region of land to become barren over several decades?

I have a region in my novel called the Burren where some event many years prior caused the once relatively lush hills of farmland to become a barren desert. The desert expands little by little every ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Could crustacean (crab-like) humanoids live as nomads in a desert environment?

Would it be possible for a race of crustacean humanoids to live as nomads in a desert environment? I want them to have crab-like faces and crab-like skin with humanoid bodies. Would they survive in ...
14
votes
10answers
5k views

How to prevent a desert from forming alongside a large mountain

I'm wanting to have two regions separated by a large mountain but do not want either side to become a desert. What would the conditions have to be on the desert side for this to be prevented? This is ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

How can a desert have high humidity?

Deserts are known to be hot and dry places. In my desert, I need a high humidity in the air. It doesn't have to be near the ground, but at least the atmosphere below 1 km should have a layer of high ...
7
votes
7answers
1k views

Garish colors for vehicles in desert warfare operations

In a vast desert, several factions vie for dominance. The factions use giant tanks and advanced aircraft. All the factions have a common origin, but are now entrenched in their respective dogmas and ...
6
votes
5answers
224 views

What could cause the desert?

I am wondering about this map, from the game Albion (not Albion Online): The island on the right (Umajo) is an arid one, mostly covered by sandy deserts, except for an area of savannahs at the very ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Rocky desert or Sand desert - Which would appear in this scenario?

I've posed a question on how to build a continent with as many hot deserts as possible. On the basis of the answers I got on that question, I've drawn a map with the following desert. Blue lines: ...
9
votes
3answers
893 views

Are my deserts accurately positioned?

I have asked previously how I could create an earth-like world with as many deserts as possible in it. I have received some useful answers and have tried to draw a realistic map of what I intend for ...
10
votes
7answers
476 views

What features might a wind-powered ship designed for travel over sand have?

In this world, a nation's army uses sailing ships to travel across a desert. They only travel at one time of year, during which a very powerful windstorm blows from the East. They leverage the wind to ...
3
votes
6answers
603 views

Can a desert planet sustain human life? [closed]

Can a desert planet sustain human life? My character is a human being who lives on a desert planet, is this possible? (The planet has an earth-like atmosphere)
38
votes
6answers
11k views

What if a portal is opened from the Mariana trench to the Sahara desert?

The first portal is placed at bottom-most point of the Mariana trench (the deepest part of any ocean, located in the western Pacific Ocean) and the second is placed in the Sahara desert in Africa at ...
4
votes
5answers
872 views

Would a tunnel in sand collapse?

I wonder, my Kepler Bb world has a lot of different biomes. Go x regions in a certain direction and there will be a different biome. Region 1, where the first city is, has a river, lakes both ...
14
votes
11answers
3k views

Architectural considerations for a city in a wind tunnel

A city-state has developed in the middle of a (magical) desert which is subjected to a constant wind and always regenerating its sand. This wind is gale force, always blows in a straight line from ...
19
votes
16answers
3k views

What would cause the land to “rise” in a future, post-apocalyptic world?

We are in the future in northern North America (U.S or Canada). The land has "risen" (or more accurately, filled in) with several hundred feet of earth and sand and silt so that a modern city will ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

Are there any big cats that can survive in a primarily desert area?

I have two large continents on an earth like world. I would like for the dominate predator on the more desert continent to be a large cat. I have found the leopards and jaguars of Egypt, but am ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How far will rain clouds travel inland?

I am writing a story that takes place in a big desert. I've figured that I could make my desert as extensive as possible by building a Pangea-like supercontinent, since I've learned here that, given ...
4
votes
2answers
717 views

What causes hot deserts (like the Sahara) under the ITCZ?

I am trying to fill my world with climates as realistically as possible. In addition to climate science stuff I read on this site, I've been using these two maps of the Earth as a comparison for where ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How much heat/energy would be needed to turn a large section of desert sand into glass?

I'd like to include a locale in my world that would be a massive glass crater in the middle of the desert. Originally, I imagined an orbital laser cannon or solar "Icarus"-style weapon from the ...
-2
votes
5answers
1k views

Sahara Savanna? [closed]

The Sahara Desert. At 3.6 million square miles and an average high of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, this is the largest and hottest desert on the planet. Despite its sandy reputation, sand makes up only ...
54
votes
11answers
9k views

Why is this creature afraid of water but not of body or plant fluids?

I have a creature or more accurately creatures that I have a problem with. I can't figure out why it is afraid of water. They are landbased tiny tiny little piranha like organisms that work in unison....
8
votes
4answers
527 views

Natural underground water distribution in a desertic continent

I'm worldbuilding a continent that's mostly desertic (still trying to decide if sand or rocky desert, but definitely a hot desert). All the rain would fall on the edges of it, through a chain of ...
1
vote
1answer
253 views

How to feed desert village

Okay so if I have a village out in a desert, and they have access to enough water to drink and some extra(water comes from a magic device that turns magic into water so there isn't a nearby body of ...
4
votes
1answer
250 views

How would the terrain of a desert be impacted by abnormally-frequent lightning strikes?

As usual, another interesting scientific question, taken from /r/worldbuilding. Would it mean any difference for a desert, where the amount of threatened objects is so low? Or would it form the ...
13
votes
9answers
3k views

Vehicle-based desert travel without tracks or wheels?

I'm creating a human civilization which exists on a largely arid planet, with a great deal of Tatooine / Arrakis-like terrain. These humans have no idea they are not native to the planet outside of ...
1
vote
1answer
166 views

What kind of house could someone make in a snow covered desert?

I was wondering what types of houses could be established in a desert which has been covered in snow for the last five years. Wood is somewhat accessible from merchants, and from trips to a ...
15
votes
6answers
4k views

Would a city underground in the desert make sense from a survival standpoint?

In the desert, the major factors of survival are water, food and temperature. I have a city in a desert where the first two are covered by a nearby river and agriculture from that river, but would it ...
5
votes
3answers
358 views

Hamada this place! Plausibility of hamada desert features in a polar region

Definitions Hamada: A type of desert landscape consisting of high, largely barren, hard rocky plateaus, with very little sand because this has been removed by deflation. -- From Wikipedia ...
2
votes
0answers
283 views

Could this animal rule supreme? [closed]

The setting of my story is a harsh desert land, with temperatures consistently exceeding 50 degrees Celsius. There are small ponds that exist, though very rarely. Water is in tight supply. The flora ...
3
votes
3answers
278 views

How can a constant sand storm be explained?

I have an idea that involves an extreme desert with a constant sand storm. There is water and forests near the area. It is an inhabited land. Humans live in this desert. Will anything else in the ...
9
votes
1answer
255 views

How little water is needed to sustain human habitation?

Supposing a roughly mars sized planet, how little surface water would need to exist to sustain a population of a size similar to pre-industrial earth (say 750 million?) The situation is somewhat ...