Questions tagged [geology]

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

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71
votes
17answers
12k views

How could a natural road form across a sea?

BACKGROUND I'd like my earth-like world to have a naturally formed narrow strip of land that bridges a major sea. Now, before anyone rushes off to comment about island chains and land bridges, I'll ...
70
votes
6answers
11k views

Would earthlike planets in other solar systems have well-known Earth gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires?

I'm currently working on a conworld that has never had any contact with Earth, and I'd like to create words for iconic gemstones, such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires. However, I can't help but ...
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, ...
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 ...
48
votes
2answers
6k views

How tall can a humanoid creature be without alerting the rest of the planet with earthquakes?

Planet is earth sized. Fantasy medieval setting that takes place on Continent A, which is on the other side of the planet from Continent B - about as far as South America is from Asia. Continent B ...
44
votes
9answers
11k views

Is there a scientifically valid explanation for a circle of islands?

A couple friends and I have started a world called Lothaucan. On this world there is a continent called Novara with a circle of islands as its key feature. (seen in the mid-left of the image) 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 ...
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 ...
36
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3answers
23k views

What size would a diamond made from a human be?

I am writing a science fiction novel where dead humans are turned into diamonds by compacting cremated remains. What size of diamond would the amount of carbon in a human body form? I know that the ...
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 ...
33
votes
9answers
10k views

Could we reach the earth's core using today's nuclear arsenal?

The setting is basically earth. Our planet is unfortunately on a collision course with a large asteroid. However, humans have discovered and decoded a message from an ancient, advanced alien race (our ...
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 ...
29
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4answers
7k views

If the Black Sea was disconnected from the Mediterranean, how long would it take to become freshwater?

The Black Sea is a brackish body of water, that used to be separate from the Mediterranean. Further back, it was likely part of the Mediterranean before the last ice age. How long would it, or for a ...
28
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14answers
6k views

How can I launch a projectile to hit something in orbit, using only geological structures and power sources?

As an ancient organism whom currently occupies a large chunk of a planet beneath the surface, I have a pesky issue with an invasive species. These humans have decided to colonize my home, mistaking it ...
25
votes
19answers
4k views

What could limit geographically a resource such as an ore to a specific spot on a planet?

In a world naturally formed where some magic exists but is mainly used by sentient species, I'm trying to come up with a more or less scientific way to explain how this special, rare ore (going to be ...
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 ...
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 ...
25
votes
7answers
11k views

How much would it cost to recreate Doggerland as it existed before 16,000 BC?

To expand the territory of the EU, one can consider recreating Doggerland by reclaiming the lost land from the sea: Had our ancestors had more technology, they could have dealt with the sea level ...
24
votes
12answers
4k views

Malign Science: Counter argument for KT boundary

Premise This is a world in which humans are blissfully unaware of their own vulnerability. Needless to say, there are many vulnerabilities to address, however, this question deals only with the ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

How To Make Earth's Oceans as Brackish as Lyr's

Allow me to present Lyr, one of a handful of worlds crafted by artist Chris Wayan: The one detail among a vast many that is important to this question is that its salinity is about 1.5%, roughly half ...
23
votes
10answers
3k views

Realistic geological and chemical composition of an edible planetary surface

We all at some point in our childhoods thought that the moon is made out of cheese. As such, I thought: under what circumstances can a planetary surface form in such a manner that it is edible (and ...
23
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4answers
3k views

A company offers fossilization as funeral option, how could it be credible?

A very powerful funeral company offers fossilization as burial options to very rich clients. Of course, no one can check if it would actually work in a few million years, but the company shows great ...
23
votes
6answers
5k views

How many tectonic plates should my planet have? And why?

While constructing a planet, with the same mass, volume and overall composition as Earth, how do I know how many tectonic plates should it have? And what does having more or fewer tectonic plates ...
23
votes
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 ...
22
votes
14answers
5k views

How to explain a world with very little iron?

I want to make a fantasy world where iron, copper, silver, gold and other "common" metals are far less abundant in the planet's crust than they are IRL, forcing people to use stone and bone for most ...
22
votes
7answers
3k views

A world with far more mobile continents?

On earth our continents move...real...real slow. This is of course a good thing for sentient life. I am trying to imagine/develop a world where...things move a bit faster...ok a lot faster, but in a ...
22
votes
4answers
1k views

Is this coral lagoon geologically possible?

BACKGOUND I’m working on a region for my world, and I have a very distinct idea of what I want the physical landscape to look like. Below is a description of what I'd like for the land, and an ...
21
votes
7answers
5k views

What would it take for an island to sink and rise yearly and naturally

So I'm writing a book and need help to better explain this island that sinks, more on that in a moment as I give you the basic build of the planet... First, its a world on a very tilted angle. the ...
21
votes
6answers
5k views

An iron rain to starve a planet

I have a generic Earth like planet, same atmospheric composition, and the same oceanic composition. The crust of this planet is predominantly silicon based but plenty of iron, nickel and copper. ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

A hang glider, sudden unexpected lift to 25,000 feet altitude, what could do this?

This is the third in a series of 5 (at this point) questions. It's not relevant to this question, but for anyone who's curious this was the first, this the second. Conditions for this question are: ...
20
votes
12answers
4k views

Valuable minerals near dormant volcanoes

When building a city, one must consider why one is building a city. It's all very well imagining a city perched on top of an inaccessible mountain peak, but a believable world requires that we ...
20
votes
10answers
4k views

How large can a volcano be?

A key part of the plot in a story I'm working on revolves around the main region being on top of volcano that is set to erupt. The trouble is that the region in question in my setting is roughly the ...
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 ...
19
votes
5answers
5k views

Is there something wrong with my fictional lighthouse?

I'm writing a story of a fictional location on Earth, or a very Earth-like world, perhaps set in the late 1800s, or at some point when lighthouses were still in use. It's located on the Eastern end of ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

How to explain lack of flatland?

I want to have an Earth like planet, but with most of the continents having very little flatland. Thus continents would be covered mostly by hills and mountains. I want the rest of the planet to be as ...
19
votes
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
5k views

Could terrain like this form on Earth? If so, how?

I am creating an RPG and came across an image that I wanted to base my landscape on. It is shown above. Is it possible for terrain like that to form on Earth (ignore the wildlife)? If it is, how could ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the oldest a cave could possibly be?

What is the oldest a still extant cave on Earth could be? What conditions could encourage the longevity of a cave? It seems that the oldest known caves, the Jenolan Caves in Australia, formed in the ...
19
votes
4answers
609 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

Would a river running through a large salt deposit turn red?

I’ve heard that bodies of water boasting high salinities tend to turn red due to seasonal algae blooms. I have a river in a fantasy setting I’m working on that’s blood red year-round, and I want to ...
18
votes
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,...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

New York to Los Angeles using no fuel

In my very lengthy story in the near future, there are some great 'Modern Marvels'. The next one I'm going to introduce might not be feasible, but if it is, I'd like to attach some numbers to it. ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

Permanent river of lava

Rivers of lava are a staple of fantasy. But in the real world, lava flows are usually very short-lived phenomenons caused by volcanic eruptions. Is there some plausible way on an otherwise earth-like ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Could ancient seeds buried deep in subsoil sprout given the right conditions?

A friend of mine was telling me about a story where a man clear cut a diverse ecosystem of plants in an area similar to size and shape of a small caldera (not necessarily a caldera itself). ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Would an island where the majority of the rock is lapis lazuli be feasible?

While the reasons for it's existence do not matter as it is part of an artificially created planet, I am curious if a lapis lazuli island would be able to survive erosion and support Earth-like life? ...
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 ...
17
votes
6answers
5k views

Can a habitable planet have two separate crusts, both of which can sustain life?

Can a habitable planet have two separate crusts, both of which can sustain life? I am wondering if through the planet's creation, over time through some form of mantle cooling/erosion combination, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...

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