Questions tagged [environment]

For questions about an environment or aspects of it such as geographical, atmospheric or climate.

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14
votes
6answers
564 views

How would technology develop differently without astronomy?

Imagine if Earth's atmosphere was shrouded in a perpetual layer of clouds or haze. Enough sunlight gets through to make agriculture still possible, but people are completely unable to see the stars. ...
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11answers
4k views

At great altitude, what conditions are needed to support a human community?

In my part of this (Earth-like) world, there is a stable community of completely isolated pre-industrial humans, numbering perhaps 1,800. They live at an altitude of (at least) 25,000 feet (7620 ...
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10answers
2k views

Wastelands on a non-desertic climate. What elements could create them?

I have asked previously how I could create an earth-like world with as many deserts as possible in it. With these tips, I've designed a continent with a lot of deserts in it. Trouble is, this ...
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4answers
350 views

Can a liquid sand ocean exist naturally?

I'm talking about this sort of liquid sand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My4RA5I0FKs "Desert-as-sea-analog" is present in many media, but often they lean heavily into fantasy, and it seems not ...
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8answers
3k views

How to evolve blue skin?

So, I understand that human skin color is based on the distance from the equator, but would it be possible to evolve skin to be a non-natural color such as green, pink, blue, purple, ect? Perhaps if ...
13
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1answer
578 views

What is the maxiumum depth for an Earth like atmosphere?

I am sure most of you have seen Star Wars. In Episode IV: The Empire Strikes Back our heroes travel to Bespin, a gas planet with a habitable zone to refuel at the floating cloud city. Well of course ...
13
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1answer
246 views

What sort of water sources could occur in a world tree?

I'm working on a fantasy setting that's literally a giant tree on a planetary scale. Magic is in effect, so concerns of how a tree that large could survive are irrelevant, but I need to figure out ...
13
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1answer
817 views

What would be required for a completely self sufficient 1 man habitat?

For the sake of this question, let's say that there would be a space mission that would send one man on a 40 year journey that will require him to be in a completely self sufficient habitat for the ...
13
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5answers
879 views

Could a species evolve intellgence and technology without Love?

There are lots of posts speculating about a planet (or whatever) where life evolves intelligence and goes on to produce technology, under different differences lacking something or another that is ...
13
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2answers
510 views

Pharbohydrates vs Carbohydrates

Question: Are there are any serious biological or evolutionary plausibility issues with separating the energy storage/production function from the production of structural/regulatory biomass? ...
13
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3answers
477 views

Are these climate zones somewhat realistic?

I have been slowly losing my mind trying to build a somewhat realistic climate map for a fantasy world I'm building for my book. A geographer I am not... I modeled the climate zones and such after ...
12
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9answers
4k views

What kind of world would drive brains to evolve high-throughput sensory?

Here on "Earth" organisms tend to evolve only enough mental processing power to handle sensory inputs in modest amounts. Taking "human" brains for a quick example, even though we have millions of ...
12
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11answers
6k views

How can Ganymede have an Earth-like gravity without us having realized it?

Imagine a small primitive humanoid civilization that developed independently in caves under the surface of Ganymede. We can assume there's enough light that filters through the crystalline surface to ...
12
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12answers
2k views

Rivers without rain

On Earth, rivers are possible because rain and snow deposit water in high places. That water then forms rivers when flowing to lower places. Would it be possible to have the phenomena of rivers ...
12
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5answers
2k views

Nuclear propulsion: viable long-term launch strategy?

So recently there was this interesting theory -the paper itself is quite readable, but here's an article link that expands on it. Basically, it states that aliens on those very habitable but massive ...
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7answers
2k views

What environment would goblins be best adapted for?

Goblins in my setting are around four feet tall, with batlike ears, a keen sense of smell, and lithe, dexterous bodies. They are omnivores, eating slightly more meat than the average human, and their ...
12
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5answers
3k views

What effect could drop the freezing temperature of water globally to −40 Celsius?

This question comes up from Is there a man-made or natural event that can cause an abrupt climate change within hours/a day? – trying to get KaguraRap a functional answer to an abrupt temperature drop ...
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8answers
1k views

Mr. Fusion reality has a global warming problem

The movie Back to Future revealed that Mr. Fusion (MF) produced by Fusion Industries (FI) was in widespread use in 2015. What the movie did not reveal was the FI was privately funded by Bill Gates. FI ...
12
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4answers
660 views

What is the climate on a brown dwarf planet with split heat sources?

Here is another planet question for you planet enthusiasts. I have this planet... It's called Barahecio. The Mars-sized sphere's average temperatures hover near the freezing point of water. Of note ...
12
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3answers
436 views

What would be the effect on life/civilisations if the length of a year was longer or shorter?

If you want to have a smaller star but you also want to keep your planet in the habitable zone, you need to put the planet closer to the star. This means shorter years. It is also possible to have a ...
12
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3answers
429 views

Planet illuminated by blue-shifted relic radiation

Are there realistic circumstances that a planet would be accelerated (either artificially or naturally) to the speed at which relic radiation becomes so blue-shifted that the planet is illuminated so ...
12
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3answers
466 views

Building Noah's Ark

The current topic challenge is apocalypse, so I figured I might as well come up with a question about surviving one. A man named Noah somehow learns that there will be a large flood within one year, ...
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12answers
3k views

Why would life energy be poisonous for the environment?

Mana is the life energy of the soul that is bestowed by nature. Everything is born with a certain amount, with humans containing the most. When something dies, it's body naturally decays and supplies ...
11
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7answers
3k views

Do hunter-gatherers move or stay put in the winter?

A hunter-gatherer society exists in lands similar to that of Bavaria. There is plentiful game in the forests and glades, and there are many rivers with edible aquatic life. Smaller rivers can freeze ...
11
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8answers
2k views

What would cause termites to be the dominant herbivores on a savanna?

Problem statement I am building a world where the flora and fauna is based on that of Gondwana, the lost supercontinent that consisted of South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Australia and ...
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6answers
1k views

What ecosystem changes would be observed if all flighted creatures were grounded?

I'm about to kick off a game of Dungeons and Dragons. My setting is magic-medieval and the plot is that the power of flight has been suppressed by an avenging god. How long would it take before the ...
11
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5answers
2k views

The shortest possible distance between a boreal area and a hot desert?

Let's assume a planet like ours, same size and same conditions. My characters live at approximately 60° North, in a boreal forest, with a climate much like the Nordic countries in Europe. They are ...
11
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5answers
2k views

A water cycle in an underground setting

The ozone layer depleted beyond reasonable levels and life on the surface has become impossible and life migrated underground in giant caves connected together by tunnels. Some of those caves have ...
11
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2answers
614 views

Life in permanent shadow

I've been experimenting with a fantasy world that is flat, with the sun fixed in place over the centre. The day-night cycle is provided by the sun dimming and then brightening again. Most of the rest ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What kinds of plants could grow near crystals and in (mostly) crystal sands?

Within my desert landscape--in which the climate is similar to the Sonora Desert--there are many canyons, one of which sports large, clustered growths of Elbaite Tourmaline crystals, averaging out at ...
11
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3answers
932 views

What would cause male and female insectoid aliens to become highly dimorphic and live in different environments?

Something I was working on in the past involved a species of sentient insectoids. The idea was the two sexes usually live in two very different environments and rarely come into contact with the other ...
11
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4answers
477 views

What kind of environment would lead to dominantly yellow foliage?

I'm looking for various factors; Atmosphere Composition, Type of Sun, etc, whatever would work. That is, of course, if this is even likely/possible. I believe that yellow is generally not an ideal ...
11
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4answers
404 views

Dredging in a fantasy setting

So, I am setting up a world for a DND campaign in which, through a magical accident in the past, the face of the globe is covered in ocean, all except for a few tiny islands where the highest mountain ...
11
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2answers
442 views

What would be the minimum percentage of water for a livable earth?

I am writing a small piece of fiction for a game. I wanted to describe it as much as possible. The setting is Earth, more than a milenia after an event of cataclysmic proportions that made the planet ...
11
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3answers
164 views

Equatorial oceanic river caused by tides

The setting: A planet with two main landmasses, each one's center located more or less at each pole of the planet. Liquid water ocean in between them, wrapping fully, if not directly (due to the non-...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

What effect would a red sky and/or sun have on plants and animals?

If an Earth-like planet had an older, red sun—or maybe just a reddish sky due to some property of the atmosphere—how would that affect the growth and/or adaptation of plant and animal life ...
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8answers
3k views

How to avoid infinite gravity

I have a world I want to put together but I ran into a problem. Description This world is a cube infinite in all directions, exactly half of it is full of earth and half is space (where we see ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Could excessive fracking over long periods of time cause tectonic plates to shift significantly?

Trying to create a future earth which has been thoroughly abused by the excesses of modern capitalism. Extreme weather, rising sea levels, massive droughts, that sort of stuff. My question is: ...
10
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12answers
948 views

A world with warmer nights

What set of physical parameters (if any) would enable a planet to have warmer nights than days? For example: Peak temperature near midnight and minimum temperature near noon, with an distribution of ...
10
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4answers
1k views

Size of the volcano that ends the world

One of the theories behind the extinction of the dinosaurs is the eruption of one or a series of volcanoes. Supposedly the ash expelled by these eruptions blocked out the sun, killing plants and thus ...
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5answers
1k views

Red colored world

It would be useful for a story I'm working on to color the world or various dominant parts of it red. I'm trying to look into the following alternatives, but am open to further suggestions. ...
10
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6answers
810 views

Man-made mass extinction that benefits arthropods

Context To revive the Carboniferous period of earth one man and a group of other scientists have been genetically engineering and breeding land arthropods into giant sizes and exotic shapes since the ...
10
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4answers
404 views

Why would an antigravity abyss exist in a deep cavern?

[Here's some writing. It will explain some aspects of the abyss in a way I can't otherwise.] "It's beautiful", uttered Ivan, in a rare moment of appreciation. "Rocks and platforms and chunks of ...
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3answers
1k views

What would be the consequences of a world that has only one dominant species of non-oceanic animal life?

I have a world that has unexpected lifeforms detected. There are to-be-revealed reasons for it, but the way the ecosystem is set up is: Microbial life is abundant everywhere There is a single ...
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4answers
1k views

What would the weather on this continent be like?

I am developing a world on this continent: To know the world, I have to know how the weather works. Inside the white line is the continent. The blue arrows denote the flow of water. Up is north, down ...
10
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3answers
8k views

If the gravity was half as strong, how would the enviroment change? [closed]

If the gravity was half as strong, how would the enviroment change? Would all the plants grow differently? What change would there be in flying creatures?
10
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6answers
293 views

What type of chemical catastrophic event might reduce the bioavailability of iron?

I am imagining a world where an astronomical event occurs, like Earth collides with a comet, and humanity is all but wiped out. In their desperate attempt to recover, humans enter a form of stone age. ...
10
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4answers
487 views

What implications might there be of mycelium being self aware?

This is for a novel I'm writing. The basic premise is that massive networks of mycelium running under the soil combine to form a decentralised intelligence that has been managing life and conditions ...
10
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3answers
493 views

Determining climate and biomes in a non-planetary setting

I'm currently playing with a geographical setting that's flat rather than round and thus doesn't follow a lot of the same rules as one modeled as a planet. I've found resources concerning climate in ...
10
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4answers
386 views

Extremely huge dirigible/airplane hybrid feasibility

Hybrid dirigible airplane with an extremely large surface area on the top and bottom. Talking at least 100 km2. It would likely be several modular pieces put together, given its size. It would need ...