Questions tagged [hypothetical]

The hypothetical tag is used for questions about processes that are unlikely to occur, but which may act as useful thought experiments and provide general insight into the processes in question.

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43
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2answers
4k views

(How long) would Earth's atmosphere last without a global magnetic field?

The Earth's magnetic field provides an important protection against the solar wind (for example, see Wikipedia on Earth's magnetic field and references therein). Mars may have lost its atmosphere ...
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3answers
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How would plate tectonics differ if Earth had no water?

Water plays a crucial role in plate tectonics by easing the brittle and ductile deformation of the Earth's lithosphere. Water lowers the Mohr-Coulomb for brittle fractures. During ductile deformation, ...
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What sort of climate zones would be present if Earth was tilted like Uranus?

The three main climate zones on Earth are tropics, temperate and polar. Due to Earth's axial tilt, the three zones experience different seasonal patterns: The tropics experience 2 or 4 wet/dry ...
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2answers
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Would the Earth function the same spinning the other way?

Right, I saw a question about why the Earth spins counter clockwise, and it reminded me of something I would like to know the answer to. I watched a episode of Futurama. In this episode the Earth ...
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7answers
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Is a complete global flood physically possible on Earth?

Genesis 7:11-20 presents an account of a precipitation event which, in 40 days, submerges the entire surface of the earth: [On] the seventeenth day of the second month — on that day all the ...
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4answers
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What would be the first thing which will render the Earth uninhabitable?

There are quite a few things which can make an otherwise habitable planet uninhabitable, and some of these will eventually happen, sooner or later: engulfed by its star when it becomes a red giant ...
14
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2answers
5k views

Effect on sea level if the Earth stopped rotating

Would sea level change at the equator if the Earth stopped spinning? I am assuming it is currently bulging around it due to centrifugal force.
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4answers
7k views

What woud happen to me if I touched the aurora?

The Aurora Borealis (commonly known as the northern lights) is a mesmerizing and captivating sight to behold, so beautiful that I just want to touch it and feel it. Should I? Could it harm me?
11
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1answer
415 views

What would happen if we could revert $\mathrm{CO}_2$ production but took it too far?

So recently, scientists managed to produce fuel basically out of thin air (water, air and sunlight). And in a discussion I had with a friend, the question came up, what would happen if you took that ...
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1answer
145 views

How would weather change on a tidally-locked terrestrial planet?

On Earth, weather is very much affected by the Earth's rotation around its axis and around the Sun. Even locations that are almost on the equator do have strong annual variations in precipitation and ...
8
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1answer
636 views

What would happen if we removed Earth's moon?

This question is an object of fascination of mine. There are a few different angles to take to it. My favorite is blasting the moon out of existence while its moving away from Earth. What would ...
8
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1answer
281 views

What would the equilibrium temperature be at the poles in a world without seasonality?

Inspired by: How does Antarctica stay frozen? If the Earth was in a fixed solstice state - northern winter and southern summer (e.g. the axis obliquity rotated with the Earth's orbit), what would ...
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1answer
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How big is the influence of tree leaves on global windsystems?

As anybody knows, there are a lot of forests. I stumbled upon the question whether these have any effect on the global wind-systems. Imagine the following situation. All trees suddenly die in an ...
6
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1answer
410 views

Can a cosmic impact break Earth's crust in large area exposing the magma ocean?

Can a cosmic impact event break the Earth's surface in such a way so it expose liquid magma over large areas with solid rocks floating in it as "icebergs"? I wonder, will such magma ocean experience ...
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6answers
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Would life on Earth survive without the Sun?

Would life on Earth survive if Sun wasn't there? My teacher told me that there are chances that it would but there would be a lack of gases and chemicals and photosynthesis that occurs with light at ...
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0answers
450 views

What would the climate be like on an Earth-like planet if it had only one convection cell per hemisphere?

Earth has three convection cells per hemisphere. These are the Polar cell, Ferrel cell and Hadley cell. These create the trade winds, westerlies and polar easterlies which control many aspects of ...
4
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2answers
835 views

What would happen if Earth suddenly stopped rotating and revolving at the same time?

What will happen if earth stops rotating as well revolving? Will we all be moving with its velocity? It should get displaced from its orbit and move in a tangential direction.
4
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1answer
428 views

What will be the temperature on Earth when Sun finishes its main sequence?

We know that presently Sun is 4.5 billion years into its main sequence. It has another 5 billion years before it enters the Red Giant phase. We also know that Sun's luminosity increases by 10% every ...
4
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1answer
107 views

Fictional Land - How can I keep dense fog in an area for half a day? [closed]

This question is now here on Worldbuilding Stack Exchange I am a writer, and this question is for a fictional work. However, given its nature, I believe it is better suited here than Writers Stack ...
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1answer
223 views

How much reduction of insolation (solar energy) would be required to stop global warming?

Suppose a giant sheet of semi-reflective mylar (or some other kind of partial sun-screening material) was temporarily placed into space between the Earth and the Sun with the intent to lower the ...
3
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1answer
80 views

How would waves (in a fluid) behave without intermolecular attraction?

Water molecules, as many people know, are polarized, and so water molecules tend to have an attractive force between them. But how would the waves in water behave if this attraction no longer was ...
2
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3answers
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Hypothetically, what would happen to the earth if a large hole was drilled through the center?

This may be a slightly unusual question. I know it wouldn't be possible, but what would the short and long term effects be, if a large (say, 1 mile diameter) round hole appeared, and went straight ...
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0answers
37 views

Hypothetical: an immense disc blocks sunlight, how does this affect the weather?

I have a hypothetical situation, and I am specifically interested in how this situation would affect the weather. I have asked this question elsewhere, however I feel that nobody with any expertise ...
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0answers
182 views

A Wide-Open Passage Between the Indian and the Pacific [closed]

Today, through plate tectonics, the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines stand as barriers between the Indian and Pacific oceans. In fact, there once was a warm ocean current flowing from the ...
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0answers
352 views

Great Lakes Earth: The Americas [closed]

Related to If the Oceans Were Deeper The Appalachian Range, at first glance, doesn’t seem so different—low-lying hills covered in forest dominating the eastern landscape. However, they are taller—7,...
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3answers
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Why would moving the prime meridian hasten the time when it would be necessary to drop a day from the calendar?

I'm reading the sci-fi novel Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, and in the story a pope in the post-apocalyptic future moves the prime meridian from England to the U.S. It is an unpopular ...
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2answers
76 views

How big does a pointed piece of tungsten need to be to self-propel into the earths core by gravity alone? [closed]

Density is 19.25 g/cm3, hardness ~9 (Tungsten carbide might apply), and melting point is at 3695 K.
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1answer
48 views

What are the hottest temperatures ocean life can survive at [closed]

What are the hottest average annual temperature for life in the ocean to withstand? Particularly algae This could include life from all points in earth history.
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2answers
196 views

What happens if it rains above the boiling point of water?

The freezing point of water is 32°F. If it rains at a temperature lower than that, it will snow. However, let's say we dig a deep hole not filled with water that goes like 10,000 feet below sea level. ...
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1answer
76 views

Nibiru, or Planet X [closed]

What is the popular opinion on this "Planet X" news that I have been seeing? It makes me a little nervous sometimes... I read so much on the internet about this subject and do not know what to believe....
0
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1answer
59 views

Stop earth rotation around its axis [closed]

I have a theoretical question. I have been reading on what would happen if the earth suddenly stopped rotating around its axis, and I have learned that would result in the annihilation of all life on ...