Questions tagged [geology]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
274 views

Can a Planet's Magnetosphere be Strengthened Artificially?

Premise One of the many conditions needed to support life (as we know it) is a planet with a surface protected from deadly radiation from a sun or even other sources. In the grand scheme of things, ...
5
votes
3answers
203 views

With medieval technology and governance, what advantages would a long tunnel have over river travel? [closed]

Background I'm working on a high-fantasy setting with the ANSI standard complement of fantasy races. I'm using a map of Earth, since all the geological work has been done for me. Here, the dwarves ...
5
votes
3answers
301 views

What fossil fuel may be found on a carbon planet?

My scenario is a civilization on a carbon-rich planet. The planet has a hydrocarbon atmosphere, oceans and clouds. Most rocks are carbides. The only flammable substance in such an atmosphere is oxygen....
1
vote
2answers
246 views

Would it be possible for a cave system to naturally exist at a different temperature and pressure than the surface?

If you had a planet with hostile conditions (25 atm pressure, 400° surface temp) would it be possible that a cave system could exist beneath the surface at a different temperature and pressure, or ...
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,...
6
votes
5answers
748 views

Naturally occurring phenomena allowing for hallucinations or “visions”

So I am working on a concept for a location, wherein a sort of oracle will exist. This oracle will in no way be super natural rather the strange behavior of the oracle (a human for the sake of the ...
2
votes
5answers
491 views

Could a geothermal plant work for several millennia

Is possible to have a geothermal plant (not necessary a very powerful one) to work for several millennia without the place where it is built over running out of heat? I found a page (don't remember ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
534 views

How thick should the roof of a large cave be to safely build a city on top of it?

Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) features a giant (and I mean stupidly big) cave under a large and busy metropolis. Nobody is aware of its existence, which means that at least since the city's founding (let'...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Could rare earth (REE) strata form as magmatic cumulates?

I'm building a mining colony world with large mine-able deposits of rare earth elements (REEs). One source of REEs on Earth is alkaline carbonitite magma. On Earth, I believe, it is thought to be ...
14
votes
9answers
6k views

How could a planet have zero surface caves?

What could cause a planet to naturally have zero caverns with surface openings apart from small impact hollows in the sides of craters and crevices carved in cliffs? To be specific, zero large ...
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, ...
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
253 views

Surveying fossil fuel deposits from the air

On Earth in 2017, finding oil or coal deposits is a tall order. However, consider a science fiction scenario where we find a habitable planet that hasn't hosted an intelligent species in at least a ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Why do dwarves usually live in mountains?

This is as much a question as it is a thought that I've had. You see, folding mountains (as in made by tectonic plates movement) are very poor in heavy minerals like metals, and they seem to be the ...
6
votes
3answers
487 views

What is the range of lava/magma viscosity on exoplanets; what conditions would have the least viscous lava lakes?

On planets of have different temperatures, conditions and chemical makeup of the lava/magma, what would be the least viscous lava around? (Relevant to an earlier question - What would an efficient ...
2
votes
3answers
145 views

Geological Processes Without Internal Heat?

Suppose you have a planet large enough to support life, with water and air all that, but old enough that it has exhausted its internal heat supply, the core is frozen solid, and there is little to no ...
7
votes
2answers
211 views

Would the rock formations in the giant's causeway scale?

In my world there is a kingdom built on hexagonal pillars like you see at the giant's causeway. Your social status is based on how tall the pillar you live on is. Sort of like the image below. The ...
3
votes
2answers
433 views

How many thermonuclear bombs needed to make a hole from the surface to the Mantle of a planet that is the same size as planet Earth?

Background info: The explosion is a simultaneous detonation only. Assume starting level is ~500 feet above sea level. By Mantle, I mean the outer edge. The explosion doesn't necessarily need to ...
3
votes
5answers
322 views

How could a planet have plate tectonics but zero or weak earthquakes?

How could an earth sized and broadly / liberally earth-like planet have plate tectonics but still experience zero or weak / little earthquakes? How can I have the weakest earthquakes possible while ...
-1
votes
4answers
264 views

What cataclysmic event would potentially block (or make it very difficult) access from one half of the continent to the other? [closed]

Say there is an Americas-like continent. (The western hemisphere (North America + South America), not the United States of America) A tyrant civilization that pretty much conquered the continent was ...
10
votes
5answers
770 views

What calendar or time cycle would an underground civilization use? [duplicate]

The majority of the calendars on earth have used either lunar or solar cycles to keep track of time, ie days, months, years. What would a civilization cut off from the sun or moon use to keep track ...
3
votes
4answers
553 views

Planet core question

Could a planet with a core of majority tungsten and cobalt with traces of gold,copper,iron and uranium be able to support life?
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How Might I Design Mountains for My Tidally Locked Planet?

In a story I'm writing, the setting is a tidally locked planet with a moon a fifth its size in a binary system of a mature red dwarf and much smaller second sun. I haven't decided the planet's exact ...
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 ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Would mountains made of diamond erode?

So diamonds are the hardest natural substance, but can be broken/shattered by impacts. If a planet had a large mountain range made of diamond (maybe the size of the Rocky Mountains on Earth), would ...
4
votes
3answers
364 views

How could a mountain range naturally form in a roughly clean, complete shape?

In this universe, the planet Paveiha has a mountain range that completely surrounds a region in a semi square/rectangle(ish) shape. Inside the borders of this vast mountain range is a verdant land ...
4
votes
1answer
98 views

Drilling a tunnel into the core of Mimas

I was told that building a tunnel into the centre of Enceladus is not possible, since it has subsurface ocean and molten, rocky core. But its brother, Mimas is a bit smaller, and shows no sign of ...
4
votes
1answer
143 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
794 views

How fast can dungeons be covered and how low can they sink?

My plot is to have temples,castles and cities built on top of the remains of previous structures repeatedly to create a multi-level underground dungeon. My goal is to figure out how many levels this ...
4
votes
5answers
329 views

Containing Undersea Alien Threat [closed]

Setting A humanoid race with advanced technology, on an earthlike planet, has an intruding alien presence underwater off the coast of one of its major port cities. The aliens are animalistic, ...
2
votes
2answers
269 views

Is it possible for plate tectonics to have completely erased traces of an advanced civilization? [duplicate]

I'd like to know if it is possible for an advance civilization to have been on Earth for millions or even billions of years in the past. And that after dying or moving away, the remnants of their ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

A layer of igneous rock over a large area

How big of a volcano would be needed for a large (Alaska-sized) area on an Earth-Like planet to be covered in a thick shell of igneous rock? Would that volcano also destroy the world or make it ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Asteroid making a hole through the crust

How plausible would it be for an asteroid impact to create a hole through the Earth's crust into the mantle? What sort of traces would such an impact leave behind? Would it be survivable by at least ...
4
votes
1answer
434 views

What prevents Dungeons from collapsing?

One of the ideas I've had for a story is to have million year old subterranean buildings/cities/temples which have younger architecture built on top of them, resulting in a "dungeon" which would be an ...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
146 views

How could a triggered earthquake be stopped?

A fault that ruptures causing an earthquake can cause a chain reaction of dynamically triggered earthquakes in nearby faults, thus causing a much larger seismic event. What are some high unlikely but ...
2
votes
3answers
209 views

How long before today's landmasses are submerged?

How long would it take for the earth's crust to move in such a way that we, as a species, will be forced to migrate to other different lands than the ones we inhabit today? The result being that our ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
489 views

Geography and Appearance of an nitrogen/ammonia planet

The planet in question is this one. Approximately three quarters the size and half the gravity of Earth, an atmosphere 25% as dense as the Terran one which mainly consists of Nitrogen with small ...
4
votes
5answers
209 views

Erosion of buildings on geological timescales

I'm looking at a science fiction scenario similar to Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness where buildings are exposed to the elements for millions of years. I have a feeling they wouldn't be quite ...
0
votes
1answer
710 views

Our Granite and Basalt vs. Their Granite and Basalt [closed]

Earth is constructed of two different rocks--continental granite and oceanic basalt. In an alternate Earth, this is granite... ...and this is basalt. As you can see here, the proportions of mineral ...
1
vote
2answers
480 views

Could extremophiles evolve intelligence?

This new idea/story includes an ancient subterranean race, but they need to survive harsh conditions. Developing a nervous system/brain is important. Are certain proteins necessary to form a complex ...
-1
votes
2answers
92 views

Dwarven at victorian tech level with some magic, new ways for them to extract materials [closed]

Buildup: There are a bunch of various dwarven clans that live in biomes of varying degrees of realism. Each specializes in getting materials in a certain way, such as mining, glassblowing, or panning. ...
16
votes
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
787 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
110 views

Natural hot shower

Was there a geological era in which the rain on earth was harmless and with the same temperature of the water in a hot shower?
5
votes
1answer
150 views

What should be adjusted for old Earth-like planet?

For story reasons, I'd like one planet habitable, plausible, but in some noticeable way older than Earth. Just not all planets are 4,5 bilion years. Tidally locked planet that orbit red dwarf, saves ...

1
6
7
8 9 10