Questions tagged [geology]

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

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52
votes
7answers
33k views

Creating a realistic world map - Landmass formation

This Query is part of the Worldbuilding Resources Article. This question focuses on the initial creation of landmasses. What are the processes that causes land-masses to form, and continents and ...
32
votes
2answers
3k views

Gravity on a Minecraftian world?

I'm curious what the gravity would be like on an infinite area flat world. The plane of the world would have some finite depth but be infinite in all cardinal directions. This is, in effect, a ...
6
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4answers
6k views

Is this concept for an LTA-gas' associated element lifecycle feasible?

Introduction: I've spent some fair amount of time thinking about inventing an element to make part of my world easier for me. In this case, it is an LTA gas which I gave the WIP name LAL-gas (Leichter ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

If Earth's Core had ALL Of the Heavy Metals

Back home, Earth had gone through an impact-coalesce cycle only once. Since then, its core has been 84% iron, 6% nickel and the rest being labeled by The Encyclopedia of Earth: A Complete Visual ...
5
votes
4answers
556 views

Earth's rotation stopped

Let's say through some magic or other, the Earth's spin came to a halt (to the point that the same side now always faces the Sun) How would this process feel? Obviously it would depend on how long it ...
16
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10answers
2k views

Naturally-ocurring Airborne Floating Islands - is it possible?

So, on a previous question of mine, someone answered that it would be feasible to build a city on a waterborne floating island using a pumice layer below the ground. That got me thinking about the ...
25
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6answers
6k views

Physics of a metal-poor world

I've read the other answers relating to this area (and discovered to my disappointment that my great ideas have been done before... hey ho). But I'd like to get the science right. I have a nation of ...
7
votes
3answers
589 views

How would a 30-kilometer tall mountain on an Earthlike planet look?

Let us take an earthlike planet. Approximately same radius, atmosphere and climate. Now let us create an approximately circular, paleovolcanic mountain approximately 30 kilometers in height and 150 ...
6
votes
4answers
459 views

Is it possible for a geologically active 'rogue planet' to support life?

After reading a couple dozen entries about rogue planets and their implications (for those unaware, a rogue planet is a planetary mass that has been separated from the star by gravitational ...
34
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6answers
5k views

Creating a realistic world map - Mineralogy

This Query is part of the Worldbuilding Resources Article. I know how continents are formed and how they evolve over time but what does it look like under the surface? The crust of the planet is ...
41
votes
6answers
12k 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 ...
19
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9answers
6k views

Can an earth-like world lack mineable iron?

This question is pretty straightforward. I would like to build an earth-like world in which humans don't have access to iron, or at least can't mine any prior to full scale industrialization. They can ...
2
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2answers
3k views

Reality of a Tidally Locked Planet? [closed]

I am currently working on a futuristic sci-fi story and here comes the world building part. I have been doing researches and brainstorming for days, but I feel like I may seek creative opinions from ...
18
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10answers
2k views

Is there a way to have coal but not oil?

Reading this answer I realized that for my purposes I don't really want a fully steampunk world. All I want is lack of cars and planes as we know them, and lack of oil, or inaccessible deposits of oil,...
12
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5answers
1k views

How could you dig a hole through the fluid mantle of a planet?

The Question of the Tunnel through a Planet grinds my mind. How could you dig a Hole through the fluid mantle of a planet? Would your walls not constantly break and collapse on you after the 15-20 ...
6
votes
3answers
428 views

Can a 25 mile high volcano form naturally on a desiccated desert earth planet?

The enormous shield volcano that this question was based on was held up by magic or God. It presented some very interesting conditions for alternate worlds so I thought I would develop that train of ...
16
votes
9answers
4k views

How could a Great Chasm be created?

As one of the feature in my world, I want to create a very deep chasm, as deep as possible. If it can touch the core, it will be perfect. Size does not actually matters, although I think the ...
3
votes
3answers
299 views

Could an island on Earth with these climate types exist?

I am creating an RPG and I created a continent in which it is set on. I want to make sure that the climate types in it are realistic as well as the continent. This island is called Lartess. Lartess ...
2
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5answers
1k views

By what mechanism can lasers destroy an entire planet?

What circumstances must be met in order to destroy a planet with just a single laser beam hit? If this is possible at all then, please, try to provide some possible details: an approximate energy of ...
2
votes
2answers
460 views

What would happen to the Earth if it were suddenly transported to a completely empty void? [duplicate]

The entire planet Earth is suddenly teleported (never mind how for now) to a completely empty space. No sun, no moon, no stars or other planets. There's absolutely nothing out there and it appears ...
4
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2answers
155 views

What is a plausible way to fuel highly active volcanism and seismic activity on my planet?

I thought that a large, close moon might help generate enough heat and stress to raise the average temperature on my world and stave off a Snowball Earth scenario. According to this article and this ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Creating a realistic world map - Fuel

This Query is part of the Worldbuilding Resources Article. Following the question Creating a realistic world map - Mineralogy , I realized that it was a very large topic to cover all the possible ...
13
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5answers
1k views

A planet made of iron

Our planet has a surface full of silicates and a core made of iron. It's due to this that Earth is the way it mostly is - most rocks and many minerals contain some form of silica. But what about a ...
11
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6answers
1k views

Possible reef world?

Piggybacking off this question: Shallow sea world - plausable geology? what would we need to have a world covered in reef? An entire world of this: If I understood them correctly the previous ...
23
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4answers
825 views

Expanding occupied underground habitations safely?

I have a colony of humans living underground in man-made catacombs on another planet. They are, essentially, digging/blasting as they go; they did not create a complete underground city first and ...
9
votes
3answers
300 views

How Can I Explain a Giant Equatorial Gash?

I have a moon in my story that has a thin, deep gash or canyon that lies on its equator and spans the entire moon. My original idea involved the sudden orbital decay of a ring system, caused by a ...
2
votes
5answers
278 views

Effects of asteroid passing very close to the planet

I am trying to think of a natural event that causes very big impact to human lives - massive movements of people, shift of power, etc. This event happens in a medieval period on an earth-like planet. ...
8
votes
1answer
251 views

Where to find equations to calculate tidal heating in a binary planet/planetesimal system?

I'm building a very small homeworld (0.602 M$_e$) with a very large moon (0.0711 M$_e$) that orbit each other at a barycenter about 7.12 planetary radii (1 R = 0.870 R$_e$) from the primary's center; ...
8
votes
1answer
952 views

How large can a mountain range get?

Start: Normal planet, very similar to Earth. The main difference is that the continents are placed differently. Magic could play a role in the formation of mountains but I prefer a scientific ...
6
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2answers
1k views

The Key For a Longer-Lasting, Steampunkier Industrial Revolution

From 359 to 298 million years ago, the "Carboniferous Coal Swamps" dominated the continents. It was the Carboniferous coal itself that sparked one of the greatest watersheds in human history--the ...
4
votes
1answer
141 views

Drilling a tunnel into the core of Enceladus

The extreme pressure and temperature greatly reduces our ability to drill holes deeper than some kilometers into Earth's mantle. However, on a body smaller, colder and less dense, this would be a ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

Ringstadt: How sensible is my topography?

Look at you all sitting here. Quite some of you have probably never ventured beyond the outskirts of this city, mayhaps not even past the wall? You've spent your whole lives in this place, but what do ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

How quickly can I form a mountain chain?

I'm designing a world, and I want it to have major geological changes over a short period of time. This includes continental drift, which I'm assuming should have some interesting results. In ...
8
votes
1answer
257 views

How much surface water do I need for plate-tectonics on a planet?

I want to build a habitable desert gas-giant moon and I´m not sure how little water I can give it and still get plate-tectonics instead of an Io-like lid-tectonic setup. I want plate tectonics because ...
7
votes
2answers
729 views

How close is too close for a human habitation to be near an erupting volcano?

I am working on a survival suspense story, where a sizeable group of surivors is trapped in a tropical island (somewhere in the Ring of Fire) by a volcanic eruption. They find shelter from the ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the highest possible mountain on an Earth-like world?

My friend is writing a book, and I volunteered to create a planet for him, one with an epic mountain extending far above the clouds. The planet features lush jungles in the lower elevations and ...
6
votes
4answers
748 views

Sugarite: can it form?

Halite, or rock salt, is a rock formed by salt deposited in past and then undergone geological processes. My question is: provided that enough (how to get that much sugar is not in scope of this ...
5
votes
3answers
434 views

Geology on low density planets

I am currently working on a piece that has a planet (about double the size of Earth). It is worth noting that this is a low density planet. Without any other factors (Earth-like atmosphere, same ...
4
votes
1answer
660 views

The Monstrosities of the Appalachian Mountains and the Great Lake (No Plural “S”) [closed]

Back home, the Appalachian Mountains are no wider than 100-300 miles, no longer than 1500 miles and no taller than 6,683 feet above sea level, and the Great Lakes are five separate lakes totaling to ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

Is it possible for the oceans to freeze solid (at least on the surface)?

Can the oceans freeze (at least several feet below sea level)? I know that the temperature for salt water to freeze is lower/colder than fresh water, and when it does freeze, the ice is mostly salt-...
1
vote
4answers
325 views

Changing the Danger Zone of Tornado Alley

I am currently at the end of my wits. No matter what change I do to the North American geography, northeastern Nebraska (42.4649° North, 96.4131° West), is still in the danger zone called Tornado ...
-3
votes
1answer
384 views

More Land to India, More Height to Tibet [closed]

This is sub-Himalayan Asia back home. As one can see, it's pretty much India, Bangladesh and Pakistan surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. And this is Everest, the world's highest peak,...
56
votes
7answers
27k views

Can stone be “recycled” by melting and cooling it? [closed]

This is something I've been thinking about for a while. Say a block of marble is used to sculpt a statue. Most of the stone is chipped away and is effectively useless. Instead of it being tossed, ...
16
votes
11answers
6k views

How to harness electricity from crystals?

One of the features in my world is a crystal cave. The crystal is mined to be used as a source of electricity. I want this electricity to power up simple electric devices, some sort of light bulb. I ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Would an island-covered planet be possible?

Island planets are common in science-fiction, and we've even got a few questions about them in worldbuilding. However, I cannot help but wonder how, or if, they could form. On Earth, at least, our ...
16
votes
8answers
4k views

How to explain one side of Super Earth is smoother than the other side?

A spaceship flew across an unclassified region of the Milky Way galaxy and found a Super Earth in an unnamed system. The planet is almost twice as massive as Earth and is orbiting fairly far away ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Shallow sea world - plausable geology?

Imagine a world covered in a shallow sea (usually only 4 metres or less) that has little land, where there is land its in the form of fairly small islands (less than 1sq KM) This will be populated ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

A city of Sand…stone

Picture this...the sun sets over an orangish red desert, in the distance you see a town rising from three hills, a river snaking between them. The buildings rise from the hills and spread between ...
38
votes
9answers
4k views

Evidence of spacetime anomaly in local geology?

My current project features a contemporary scientist who is convinced that some sort of spacetime anomaly occurred in a tiny rural Yorkshire, U.K. community circa-1850; he believes a dilapidated old ...
25
votes
12answers
5k views

Ferrying an island with mortals on top. Is it possible without killing them?

Tolkien wrote on The Silmarillion about Tol Eressea, an island that the vala Ulmo (a god-like figure) used to ferry the elves back and forth across the sea into the Western lands. José Saramago also ...