Questions tagged [geology]

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

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73 votes
17 answers
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 ...
Random's user avatar
  • 5,956
71 votes
6 answers
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 ...
loghaD's user avatar
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57 votes
7 answers
31k 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, ...
RenegadePizzaGuy's user avatar
55 votes
7 answers
36k 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 ...
Tim B's user avatar
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50 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Pink Sweetener's user avatar
46 votes
3 answers
9k views

How much damage to the US would a Yellowstone eruption cause?

I posted this question: How would the United States survive and adapt in the decades following a Yellowstone eruption? What things would need to change as the world recovers? and it was closed due to ...
WordyBirdy's user avatar
44 votes
9 answers
12k 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 ...
Elvesflame's user avatar
44 votes
6 answers
14k 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 ...
McGucket's user avatar
  • 699
38 votes
9 answers
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 ...
J.H. Cowel's user avatar
36 votes
3 answers
29k 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 ...
Catlover's user avatar
  • 363
35 votes
9 answers
11k 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 ...
Ovi's user avatar
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35 votes
6 answers
6k 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 ...
Vincent's user avatar
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33 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
Samuel's user avatar
  • 48.3k
32 votes
12 answers
6k views

The erosion problem on floating islands

Even the tallest mountains will be ground to dust with time. Given, of course, nothing sustains them (like tectonic activity which prevents mount Everest from eroding away too quickly, even making it ...
El Nitromante's user avatar
30 votes
4 answers
8k 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 ...
GoingFTL's user avatar
  • 783
28 votes
14 answers
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 ...
NBJack's user avatar
  • 471
25 votes
19 answers
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 ...
CageyCat's user avatar
  • 353
25 votes
12 answers
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 ...
Pedro Gabriel's user avatar
25 votes
6 answers
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 ...
TheSpidermonkey's user avatar
25 votes
7 answers
12k 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 ...
Count Iblis's user avatar
  • 1,691
24 votes
12 answers
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 ...
Arash Howaida's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
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 ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.4k
24 votes
6 answers
6k 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 ...
ThomasEvenor's user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
23 votes
14 answers
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 ...
Z.Schroeder's user avatar
  • 11.2k
23 votes
10 answers
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 ...
MedwedianPresident's user avatar
23 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Bebs's user avatar
  • 643
22 votes
7 answers
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 ...
James's user avatar
  • 32.8k
22 votes
6 answers
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. ...
Green's user avatar
  • 52.6k
22 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Random's user avatar
  • 5,956
21 votes
7 answers
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 ...
WolvesEyes's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
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 ...
ckersch's user avatar
  • 46k
20 votes
9 answers
7k 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 ...
Random's user avatar
  • 5,956
20 votes
2 answers
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: ...
Escaped dental patient.'s user avatar
20 votes
12 answers
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 ...
Werrf's user avatar
  • 14.9k
20 votes
10 answers
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 ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 98.7k
19 votes
5 answers
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 ...
Lonely Lighthouse Keeper's user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
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 ...
Ziggurat's user avatar
  • 193
19 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Galactic's user avatar
  • 4,282
19 votes
3 answers
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 ...
tinydoctor's user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
864 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 ...
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Z.Schroeder's user avatar
  • 11.2k
19 votes
6 answers
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 ...
dot_Sp0T's user avatar
  • 12.1k
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 ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
18 votes
10 answers
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,...
Mołot's user avatar
  • 33k
18 votes
3 answers
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. ...
Mikey's user avatar
  • 17.4k
18 votes
6 answers
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 ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 48.1k
18 votes
3 answers
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). ...
Carlo's user avatar
  • 1,036
17 votes
6 answers
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, ...
Son of Thrain's user avatar
17 votes
9 answers
5k 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 ...
Vylix's user avatar
  • 10.9k

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