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Questions tagged [geology]

For questions about rocks, minerals and the physical structure and substance of the world.

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5 votes
3 answers
205 views

True living fossils?

Could there be a living creature that is so old that part of it has fossilized? Here are some criteria I have for the thing to be described as a fossil: It has to be over 10,000 years old. A portion ...
2 votes
1 answer
118 views

What's stopping other rock layers from creating a karst-like landscape?

Context I've reread a part of a book about geochemistry and it reminded me that just about any element can dissolve in water if the pH is right. Later an examples of aluminium or iron dissolving en ...
9 votes
1 answer
545 views

Guidance: How to Create Sensible Plate Tectonics

This is a community-wiki question Worldbuilding Stack Exchange regularly hosts questions asking either how to establish plate tectonics based on an existing planetary map or to judge the suitability ...
2 votes
2 answers
111 views

What are some plausible, long-lived geophysical planetary processes which would consistently maintain reddish skies in a human-breathable atmosphere?

Note for clarity: By reddish skies I mean being reddish in the same way Earth's skies are blue. This should apply to the skies in general (not a localized effect), and it's preferable that it's an ...
2 votes
2 answers
52 views

Surface Hot-springs on an Icy moon

Would it be possible that on an ice moon like Europa, except more massive, that large volcanoes/thermal vents would be able to reach the surface and create hot springs for life to survive around on ...
4 votes
1 answer
178 views

How would the coastlines of a chemical sea on a planet with extreme winds form? [closed]

On one of my pet projects, there is a chemical sea similar to the Black Sea if it had the saline content of Lake Natron; extreme density of chemicals in the soil and from vents. It's about the size of ...
4 votes
2 answers
158 views

Could a planet have metalloids but very few metals?

Could advanced technology be created by an intelligent species on a planet where there are very few true metals and only large amounts of metalloids? I envision a planet sparse in accessible metals, ...
8 votes
15 answers
3k views

How to build a defensive wall that Stone Mages can't easily deconstruct?

Assume that the time period takes place at some point before cannons and other later siege equipment (medeival, antiquity, bronze age, etc.) Stone mages can affect materials that follow the geological ...
3 votes
1 answer
152 views

How long would it take for an area to be repopulated after experiencing a meteoric impact?

By repopulation, I refer to the time it will take until the geographic conditions in and around the impact structure are tame enough for civilization (this can be small nomadic camps, and need not be ...
3 votes
0 answers
57 views

Crustal composition of an ammonia planet

I am currently building a planet that weighs about 4 earth masses and is 2.3 earth radii long. It is an ammonia planet (as the title suggests), and has ammonia oceans with some dissolved water ice, ...
14 votes
17 answers
7k views

Making nuclear weapons almost impossible to build

The Issue I am currently working on a world that is supposed to take place around the 1980s, in terms of parity with Earth, technology-wise. There is a lot of magic mixed into it as well. The real ...
4 votes
2 answers
121 views

Could a planet composed of 70% heavy metals by mass have a plate tectonics?

It would have to be much hotter to sustain any kind of magnetosphere yes, but assuming that it could, with the remaining 30% to play around with for other kinds of elements, and the 70% heavy metal ...
4 votes
1 answer
89 views

Could a planet with an unusually high heavy metal content sustain life? [closed]

I'm playing around with the concept of a planet containing unusually high heavy metal content, due to being born in a nebula that resulted from a neutron star merger. What conditions would this planet ...
3 votes
1 answer
182 views

Continent Formation and Volcanos

For over a year I've been writing about a fictional race of people that has taken on rather a life of its own. They live on an earth like world with similar geological processes to our own but I don't ...
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

Could mountains form on anhydrous planets?

The primary mechanism for mountain formation (of which I'm aware) is uplift of the crust, with rivers eroding their way through softer sediments as the crust rises to form peaks and canyons. That ...
4 votes
1 answer
106 views

geology in fantasy worlds

I was wondering about how to figure out the geology of your fantasy world. For example, where would granite, limestone, sandstone, and gems (diamonds, amethyst, etc.) be placed? If a castle is made ...
4 votes
6 answers
276 views

How quickly can a continent split and separate without an Extinction Level Event occuring

Consider an Earth-like planet. I want a large (Europe/Africa) continent to split in half, with the halves separating in a reasonably short time (by geological standards). The halves need to separate ...
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

How would the "Hardness vs Toughness" dynamic of gems apply if it were possible to make shields out of them?

From my understanding, "hardness" and "toughness" in the context of material sciences (or perhaps specifically gems?) refers to two separate properties: "hard" materials ...
4 votes
2 answers
232 views

Does planet size affect mountain formation?

I just wanted to know if the size of a planet would affect the size of its mountains. For example, I know Mars has larger mountains than our own despite being 1/3 our size. Do planets that are larger ...
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the strongest earthquake possible without wiping out all life?

In the story in question, an extremely powerful earthquake decimates the Earth (but does not destroy it) due to Unforeseen Consequences of Our Actions. Ideally some humans need to survive, so ...
5 votes
2 answers
271 views

Superhabitable Earth Analog

Consider an earth analog but with different land mass distribution and shallow seas. If the seas are at just epipelagic depth, what would change energy-transport-wise? If the land mass can have ...
22 votes
4 answers
1k views

How deep could dwarves actually delve?

Given an arbitrarily long time to do so, what is the maximum depth too which a dwarven civilization could practically extend their mines / cities? And what would be the final limiting factor ...
11 votes
4 answers
1k views

Could there be more than two poles on Earth?

So I was deciding on ways to end my world in a futuristic scenario, and I had an idea. As we all know, Earth has two poles, and these poles are moving constantly (Magnetic Poles are different from ...
3 votes
1 answer
105 views

How would benthic marine organisms like shellfish and crabs adapt to a hypersaline environment? [closed]

In this world of mine, through a mysterious phenomenon called magick(tm) a God made it so all the salt in the world is either in a few location, alpine salt lakes or at the very bottom of the ocean. ...
14 votes
14 answers
5k views

Can a tunnel be hidden from acoustic scanners?

There is an underground vault containing something very valuable. To prevent robbers from tunnelling to it, the security personnel regularly scans the ground with sound and geophysic sensors. Some ...
3 votes
2 answers
179 views

Rate at which jackhammer excavates asteroid

I've got a family using a jackhammer to excavate an asteroid habitat they intend to homestead in. The jackhammer is large, and would normally need mounting on a column or tripod like this mining ...
2 votes
1 answer
140 views

What's the maximum mass for an Iron Planet to have a magnetosphere like Mercury's?

I'm designing an iron planet which migrated into its habitable zone. Basic research told me iron planets cool off too quickly to have a magnetic field, so initially I was looking for ways native life ...
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Reality Check: Meteor Shower buried supermetal in the earth's crust, that is now being mined out

Centuries ago, a localized meteor shower deposited rare "supermetal" in the side of a mountain range. Due to the force of the impact, it created a pockmarked area with the metal at varied ...
6 votes
2 answers
145 views

How might the surface of a tectonically active planet appear without a global ocean?

I hope this is "specific" enough, and sorry I don't really know formatting rules yet. I'm trying to build a habitable desert super-Earth, where water can only exist seasonally around the ...
1 vote
8 answers
374 views

What would be considered continents in a world of islands?

The title says it all but i'll go into detail for clarity. On earth the definition of continents and the line between those and just big islands is relatively clear (let's not get into the Europe, ...
17 votes
11 answers
4k views

What could lead a large ocean on a planet's surface to recede completely only to reappear later on in a cyclical process?

I don't just mean tides or large-scale floods and droughts but a premise where one or more large bodies of water (or even every such body if that makes it easier) disappear, only to reappear one or ...
2 votes
3 answers
426 views

An ocean-planet made out of deadly, non-water chemicals

I'm currently working on a comic-series set in a solar-system that isn't ours, and i'm reworking most of my planets. One of them, a cold ocean-planet below freezing temperatures that orbits its k-...
0 votes
0 answers
26 views

How would core size affect plate tectonics? [duplicate]

If, for example, the Earth had a larger core (perhaps even Mercury-ratio) what effects would this have? Would continental drift speed up, slow down, or not even happen at all? Thank you for your time.
0 votes
1 answer
129 views

What would happen to an Earth-like planet if it had a more magnetically permeable inner core?

I was contemplating the impact of doping an Earth-like planet's core with a substance that alters its magnetic permeability. Specifically, I considered a scenario where the planet has an improved ...
13 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is it possible for an artesian basin to go underneath a shallow sea while still being freswater?

An artesian basin is an aquifer in which water within permeable rock is kept under pressure between 2 layers of impermeable rock. I don't know if any artesian basin exists like this in real life, but ...
13 votes
2 answers
430 views

Would a diamond mountain floating in the mantle cause a supervolcano or lava pool in the crust above it?

I was looking for ways to make gigantic mountains, and found Willk's answer to such a quandary, where a giant diamondberg forms in an ice giant and is incorporated into a terrestrial planet's crust, ...
1 vote
1 answer
70 views

Possibility and sustainability of Volcanic Climate in Tropical Asia

I am looking for an answer relating to the possibility of very tall volcanoes (maybe as tall as 6km high), scattered around Tropical Asia (Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia), that spew lots of ...
6 votes
2 answers
227 views

How many different mines and extraction industries would a colony need in order to be able to produce equipment similar to what we have now?

Help me, you benevolent geology nerd! This is a question I'm trying to find a workable (but not necessarily precise) answer for a colony-building sci-fi RPG game that I am GMing for some of my friends....
5 votes
2 answers
656 views

Do the mountains formed by a divergent boundary form on either coast of the resulting channel, or on the part that has not yet separated?

The lakes and the bay are formed by the rift where the right chunk is diverging away from the main plate. I've put mountains on the land part of the rift a la Ethiopia's Great Rift Valley, but should ...
4 votes
3 answers
118 views

What would the geological effects of erosion due to extreme megafauna be like on large timescales?

Whenever I see fictional biospheres with massive or otherwise extreme megafauna capable of significant short-term erosion (such as toppling large rock formations, leveling mountains, digging huge ...
4 votes
2 answers
457 views

Where should my tectonic plates be?

This is my map: It was generated using tectonics.js, and I traced it in GIMP. For a while now, I've been having trouble pinning down just where exactly my tectonic plates should be. I tried sketching ...
4 votes
1 answer
135 views

Where, on a geological timescale, would human-worked materials end up?

One day, a race of hyper-advanced aliens are on a stag weekend to Earth, and for a joke they decide to 'tag' every atom of every material that humans have 'worked' through chemical processes (eg ...
2 votes
2 answers
140 views

Could You Use Artificial Volcanoes To Create Buildings?

For the purposes of this question the builders are incredibly wealthy, have access to cheap nukes to use for excavation, and everyone in this world is immune to radiation. The technology is decades ...
18 votes
5 answers
4k views

How powerful would a volcanic eruption need to be to blast debris to the height of the ISS?

I'm trying to write a scene in which a supervolcanic eruption destroys the ISS by blasting a shower of tephra to the ISS's orbital height. The ISS is about 400 kilometers up. Let's assume the ...
2 votes
1 answer
348 views

Geology and tidal forces on moon with Earth-life surface, but very unstable underground

I am writing a story set on a mining colony moon with some very odd geological conditions, and while this idea is admittedly likely impossible to fully make geologically plausible but I wanted to see ...
3 votes
2 answers
312 views

If humans were killed out in the Great Oxidation Event, would they leave behind any evidence?

I was thinking about the Great Oxidation Event - how, when they evolved and starting dumping a ton of oxygen into the atmosphere through photosynthesis, they accidentally killed off almost all life on ...
2 votes
1 answer
103 views

Methods of releasing nitrogen from martian regolith

One important step in the proposed terraforming Mars would be to give the planet a nitrogen atmosphere. Now, most assume that nitrogen, (along with water and other luxuries of the sort) would have to ...
6 votes
4 answers
714 views

How long is a terraformed mars likely to remain habitable without plate tectonics?

Whilst considering the terraforming Mars in my science fiction project, I realised something rather important: Mars has no plate tectonics. That means that, assuming the humans in my project manage to ...
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do I get a giant equatorial continent for my planet?

In my sci-fi universe, I have an earth-sized planet orbiting a K-type star. This planet (which has life) has about 0.6 G of surface gravity, an atmospheric pressure of 0.8 bars, and no continents. ...
3 votes
1 answer
111 views

Geological activity and of superearth - cannonball moon system

I understand that this situation is hypothetical -- I just need a piece of advice to make it more realistic. In my story, there is a superearth of 4,5 Earth masses and 1,35 Earth's radius, rotating ...

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