Questions tagged [environment]

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

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Is a single stable planetary ecosystem even possible? [duplicate]

Think of some famous outside-of-the-solar-system planets from say, Star Wars. Tatooine. Hoth. They all have something in common: No matter where you land, the landscape is pretty much the same: on ...
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What natural defenses might an ecosystem evolve against dragons?

In a world in which dragons (as animals, minus magical associations) existed, what natural defense mechanisms might other animals or plants evolve in response? How would a creature as devastating ...
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What kind of animal could grow quickly enough and produce enough offspring to replace agriculture as a food source?

In my world, for reasons that are unimportant for now, there can be no agriculture. Because of this, civilization can not depend upon agriculture, as we practice it, for a food supply. A solution for ...
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Ice and sand deserts next to each other

Well, the title is the question. I searched for a similar question but only found one asking about sand deserts and swamps together, so I think this is not duplicated. I have a strange mind and ...
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How to craze the surface of a planet?

I want to generate a world with a surface that has the same sort of patterning is seen in the surface of a dried lake bed when the mud cracks, but greatly scaled up. Each individual plate/fragment of ...
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Extending the Kola Superdeep Borehole

In an effort to accurately map and predict earthquakes and tectonic plate movements, scientists wish to insert sensors through the earth's crust and into the upper mantle. Through some Excel wizardy, ...
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Terraforming for robots

Terraforming would not strictly be the appropriate term for the type of planetary modifications I am asking about. Say humanity develops advanced AI robots, who are then left alone in space (as ...
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What would be the overwhelming smell of life in my domed city?

I am writing a YA adventure novel that takes place in a domed city. For my model of the dome, I am using the Mir mine project design: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-11/17/russia-domed-...
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What natural or human-induced disaster could bring to a scenario like in McCarthy's "The Road'?

This post-apocalyptic environment, as narrated in the book, depicts a world where most if not all animal life has been abruptly killed, and similarly most vegetation burned out. After the disaster, ...
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If Earth's gravity suddenly became stronger, how would we cope?

If the force of gravity at the Earth's surface suddenly became 2 times stronger, how would the environment and humans cope? I'm guessing a lot of flying creatures would suffer, but what would happen ...
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Mechanism for high geographical change but not killing everything

Premise: Earth has a magical cataclysm that pulls up new mountains, pushes down parts of landmasses, and generally reshapes Europe enough to make it unrecognizable (to the average person looking at a ...
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Feasibility of Giant Fungi

I have a temperate rainforest environment within the arctic circle of my planet. What is the feasibility of fungi storing nutrients from dead matter during the daylight hours, then erupting to create ...
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Could a permanent storm system circle a planet's equatorial zone?

I'm thinking of using this as a method of separating a planet's technological and cultural evolution, then having a sudden clash as the more advanced one becoming able to cross the storm belt. This ...
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Could the moons of a Gas Giant all be habitable if that planet was in the habitable zone?

I ask this as a basis for a World (in this case Moons) Building I'm doing. I came up with a couple of different problems and some possible solutions to those problems: All of these questions presume ...
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No oceans but not deserts?

I'm picturing a world without oceans. I'm not after Arrakis; I want a quite lush surface. I'd like no surface water at all, but I'm concerned that makes evolution impossible. (I imagined using ...
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Creating a dark world - What kind of flora can I get away with

Primary question If this world averages a visible light level of civil twilight (about 1000x dimmer than full daylight, or 500x brighter than full moonlight) during the day, what kind of plants can I ...
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Airships without huge balloons/gas bags that can still “float” in air, using minimal or no energy

Making a world where you live in the air, as the surface is not survivable (Venus-like) but there are mountains which serve as islands. I'm gonna leave out the story of the planet as it's not ...
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How would the global environment of a completely urbanized city-planet be affected?

Related: How would a completely urbanized city-planet support its population? How a completely urbanized city-planet be maintained? Why would a completely urbanized city-planet exist? The properties ...
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How, and for how long, could a permanent storm be maintained on Earth by a stationary mega-structure?

Suppose you had a tower-like mega-structure, rooted all the way into near-infinite geo-thermal energy of the Earth's crust, connected to the ocean such that water is not a limiting factor to the super-...
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What consequences could a higher surface gravity have on life and geological evolution?

I am trying to build a world which has a bit larger gravity force than earth, 1.25g. And I was wondering which impact could this have on its geology and life evolution. I think that with a higher ...
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Would a shallow ocean planet be possible?

For a story I am writing, I need a planet covered in a shallow ocean. What I mean is that I want the majority of the planet's surface (=> 60%) to be in the photic zone of the ocean. This planet must ...
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Resolving Environmental Implications of an Extremely Massive Mountain

I am doing some work within the setting of the Exalted tabletop role-playing game. In broad brush strokes, the defining feature of the world is the five elemental poles: Water (west), Wood (east), Air ...
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From Mushrooms To Menshrooms

Alternate question title: From Fungi to a Fun Guy So, I asked a previous question about which non-animal would be the likeliest to evolve sentience. The answer turned out to be fungus, since mycelial ...
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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 ...
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How to protect culturally bald people from sunburn?

What are some ways that people in a culture where head shaving is common practice could protect themselves from sunburn and other natural elements?
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How would an organism drink water on a planet where the water is pH11?

Background: The oceans and waters in my setting have an incredibly strong pH between 11 to 14, this calcifies anything that enters them (not instantly but pretty quickly). I know in nature that some ...
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Multi-colored Clouds

A little while back, I went to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (honestly unsure of what reaction this is going to get), and there was a particular scene that showed a desert planet's ...
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Forming the “useless coast” — i.e. no shipping allowed

How would you form an extended stretch of coastline that is effectively useless for overwater trade -- i.e. there are no sheltered areas to serve as ports, or trade routes that can reach all the way ...
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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 ...
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How long would it take for a group of humans to travel across a continent by foot?

Think a Lord of the Rings-esque quest to save their kingdom. This quest would also involve detours, but I can just factor those in later. The continent is around the size of Australia, with a lot of ...
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Under what conditions would a society develop the idea that there is nothing out there but themselves

I am working on a sort of alien contact story in a fantasy world, where a society would be completely isolated from the rest of the world and thus develop the idea that there is no outside world as a ...
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How realistic is the geography of my map?

I was told to post this question separately, so here it is. I need help with the geography and climate of my map. Blue circles are ports Gray circles are cities That one brown circle is a town The ...
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How to explain lack of fosil fuels on an Earth-like exoplanet?

Planet - habitable, tidally locked planet orbitting red dwarf. Aim: a realistic answer (neither involving handwavium nor aliens that used it all) why a virgin planet that already experienced a while ...
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Dead bodies on a partially terraformed planet : Would they rot or dry?

The planet in question is Earth-like in size and composition and orbits a Sun-like star. Its atmosphere is less than 5% Oxygen and plants (lichens, some grass and river vegetation) have started ...
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Syrup Atmosphere

As you look at the properties of the atmosphere as you scale up or down, things get weirder and weirder. One good example is the fairyfly and its environment. Fairyflies are so small that at their ...
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Is it possible for a temperate forest/freshwater area to form within a desert?

I am imagining a temperate forested area with freshwater lakes, rivers, small mountains, and rolling grassy hills. This environment is situated within a very large explosion crater. Outside this ...
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Semiliquid atmosphere - Is my premise/conclusions correct; and will it get the result I want?

I'm writing a graphic novel on the premise of a world that has a liquid or semi-liquid atmosphere, separate from a true liquid sea. But since I don't want 'Magical Underwater Adventure!' I've decided (...
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Can a planet have more than one ozone layer?

Can a planet possess more than one ozone layer? Can multiple ozone layers cause more harm? If one ozone layer had a hole, would the other(s) act like a backup shield to harmful rays from a star? ...
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How would an intelligent race on a methane world achieve a fire equivalent?

Linked: What would the conditions on a methane world be like? What would animal life on a methane world look like and how would it evolve? Background: Okay, an intelligent race has evolved on a ...
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Infinite tube world

I'm inspired by this question and was thinking that it is nigh impossible for sun, moon and star to exist in this world and even if they do, there is no way to sun and moon to orbit and create day-...
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How would flora be affected by longer night than day cycle?

Night/Day Cycle I'm trying to make a fantasy world with a longer night cycle than day. With the advice of Renan, 12 hours of proper night, 4 hours of near/partial dark and 8 hours of good light. ...
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How would animals “see” in a superdense atmosphere?

The obvious hitch with a superdense atmosphere is that, even without being super deep as well, it absorbs light. Just as the bottom of the ocean is dark even just miles deep, an atmosphere as dense as ...
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How would a hollow, layered lattice planet work?

I had the idea to make an artificially constructed planet which is terrestrial, but has the diameter of Jupiter. Instead of being a solid sphere, it would be five spherical layers, with land on the ...
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Could an organism as complex as a human breathe sulphur dioxide?

On my world sulphur dioxide makes up most of the atmosphere (42%). It comes from constantly active land-based and Hydrothermal vents. I know there are basic, or basic compared to a human, organisms ...
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Fusion thrusters on a planet. Problems with temperature and radiation!

I'm really in doubt if a fusion thruster could be used inside a planet (populated places). As i saw in the TV show "The Expanse", their fusion engines are really, really hot, hotter than the surface ...
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Let's build a Super-Habitable Earth

How do you go about boosting an already-habitable planet's habitability? I want to maximize biomass, hopefully cover the whole planet surface in luxuriant jungles and forests, brimming with insects, ...
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Effects of Rings - Debris?

I've been thinking about writing a fantasy novel set on an earth-like world with Saturn-like rings. I've been doing some research here by looking up questions about worlds with rings, of which there ...
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Perpetual fog issues

What problems would perpetual fog cause to a country roughly the size and environment of Ireland? The country has all modern infrastructure such as power plants, roads, factories, hospitals, etc. ...
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How can a world have permanent cloud cover?

The inhabitants of my Earth-like planet live high up in the atmosphere at ~1500 meters. When they look down, I don't want them to be able to see the ground. I figure the best way to accomplish this is ...
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Larger moon = Larger Tides = No oceanic ships?

In an Earth-like world with a moon as large as this: Would the larger tides discourage oceanic shipping?