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Old 08-29-2013, 09:14 AM
Status: "My eyes are rolled back so far I can see my brain." (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Here.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecynicalmonk View Post
OK, but the thing is there isn't really a "bad guy" in the story.
Then who is this?:

Quote:
a private corporation / tyrannical leader (doesn't really matter as this is only background to the story) has managed to isolate all the water on Earth in a small region
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
That's a weird scenario, but it wouldn't necessarily get rid of the sea water. Water covers a very large part of the Earth's surface. Sea water is where it is because water settles at the lowest general point. It's a big 'point' though. It's what we call sea level. Land surfaces are above sa level.

Sea water pouring into a big hole wouldn't necessarily get rid of sea water, although it'd produce a tremendous amount of steam. For example, think of the geysers at Yellowstone. I would think with your big hole scenario, any water flowing down onto the hole would boil, turn to steam, and erupt out as a gigantic geyser. Water would never reach the core because the core is much too dense. At best, it might come into contact with magma which would instantly turn it to steam (vapor). What happens at Yellowstone is that rain water is absorbed into the ground and trickles down deeper through tiny cracks reaching larger pockets or chambers. When the water gets deep enough, it begins to boil, turns to steam, then erupts out as a geyser. Think about what happens when you put water into a tea kettle and turn on the heat. The water in the kettle begins to boil, starts turning to steam, and 'erupts' through the spout.

The big-hole-in-the-ocean scenario would certainly change things, if the hole was big enough. It could be very disruptive to the atmosphere. I don't think water or the lack of it would be the major problem though. With such a gigantic hole, the enormous heat coming from the Earth's interior exposed by the hole would be a much bigger problem.
I'm interested in the idea of heat from the Earth's core being a danger up on the surface.
But also, if all the water went down a hole but not to the Earth's core, would there be any way to make it stay many miles underground and be lost to humans for ever? Or would its return to the surface be inevitable?
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Then who is this?:
That was just a possibility. But you've got me wondering now...
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecynicalmonk View Post
I'm interested in the idea of heat from the Earth's core being a danger up on the surface.
But also, if all the water went down a hole but not to the Earth's core, would there be any way to make it stay many miles underground and be lost to humans for ever? Or would its return to the surface be inevitable?
It depends on the size of the hole. Water from geysers probably doesn't have to get down very far to begin reacting to the heat and start boiling. Certainly not all the water ends up being blown out of the geysers. Some may be forced through other cracks and end up in pools higher up where it can cool down a bit. I would think it'd still be pretty hot because there'd be more water following those same cracks.

With the big-hole-in-the-ocean scenario, it would depend on the size of the hole. If such a hole was say hundreds of miles in diameter, extending down to expose magma, that'd be a major problem. The hole could possibly widen, although I would think that as the magma reaches the surface (and cooler water), it would harden and eventually plug the hole. How long that would take? Who knows? But it would probably be the mother of all supervolcanoes.

I would think such a hole would produce a profoundly powerful eruption. To visualize the scale of such an eruption, think in terms of the volcanic eruptions on Jupiter's moon, Io, or the cryo-eruptions on Saturn's icy moon, Enceladus. It really wouldn't matter if any water remained underground or not. The heat alone released from such a hole would probably scorch and incinerate most, if not all, life on the planet, with maybe a few structures standing as a testament that life ever existed on the planet.

For such a hole to be formed, there'd either have to be an extremely large weak spot in the Earth's crust below the ocean, or a collison by a very large body from space. Below is a simulation of what would happen if a 500 km asteroid hit the Earth. Best seen in full screen via the link.



Asteroid Impact (HD) - YouTube
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
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Quote:

Thank you for that idea and it's probably the closest thing to what might
work in terms of sci-fi.
I understand that this is a tricky one, folks, and
I am grateful for all your input. In terms of fitting things in with the story,
I need the water to CEASE TO EXIST on Earth (I realise that vapourisation and so
on is just changing water into another state), and while I like the idea of
water being pumped into space to create living space, it doesn't really fit with
the story I have.
It can't. The amount of water on earth is constant. It doesn't increase or decrease; it just changes forms.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Montreal, Quebec
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Perhaps you can incorporate a Supervillain who stole our water, or an alien race which siphoned it off for fracking on other planets.
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Pumping water to a high altitude so it can disperse into space:
1. Unfeasable due to the energy required, and the impossiblility of supporting such an enormous piping structure. I guess you could call it an active structure and use the force of the water to self-support the structure, but it's still kind of BS. And a really really dumb use of technology.
2. >99% of the water evaporated would simply re-enter the biosphere. You would have to pump it up to escape velocity (about 9 km/s, or mach 30+ to the layman) which would take even more energy.
Draining the oceans into drinking/farming water:
1. Water is still in the biosphere. We drink it, pee it out, it goes through treatment plants (or not), into rivers, back into the ocean. Even if you had the 800 trillion people necessary to consume that much water, it's still all in the biosphere.
Turning water into rock:
This is slightly more feasable. There are certain crystaline hydrates which "lock" up water in solid form. However, you can still recover the water through chemical and physical processing. I don't know if the process of creating such hydrates is exothemic or endothermic. You could possibly say that a process was discovered to generate energy by turning water into rocky hydrates. Humans used up all the water creating energy, and now don't have enough energy to convert the water back. This is REALLY far-fetched, though.

You could also rehash the old Ice-9 plot, where all the water in the world is (almost instantaneously) transformed into a hydrate by the invention of Ice-9, a more-stable crystalline state for H2O than it's three known states. Of course, Ice-9 kills everyone who touches it, so you would have giant deadly ice-9 deserts instead of empty seas. I don't think that's what you want.

Compressing water and shipping it off to the colonial words:
LOL, water is, by definition, incompressible. And it's not size that matters (as much) but rather mass. You would need to accelerate the majority of the world's water to the aforementioned 9 km/s. If we could do that, we could probably just go out and tow back ice asteroids to replace what we shipped off-planet. Or just use ice asteroids in the first place. Honestly, if we had the energy or technology to do that, we'd be so god-like I don't think you'd be able to write the scenario you want.
Big hole in the ocean.
As others have said, you would just increase rainfall, not destroy water. And the localized cooling of the mantle would probably cause huge tectonic disruptions. I don't think this fits in your scenario. Also, the hole is impossible to dig. Maybe a meteor impact. Again, not the world you want to write about.
Lots of small holes down to unreachable caverns
Basic physics prevents this. As others have said, the water boils due to heating from the mantle. It's impossible to force it to stay down there, even two or three miles; easily drill-able distances. Also, there is not enough volume to contain the water without excavation on an impossible scale. Again, if we could do that, we would be gods and negate the premise of your book.

Finally, some "realistic" suggestions in keeping with your desired theme:
Wormhole/Black Hole
Scientists develop a way to warp space (currently being researched) to connect two places together which are physically distant in space/time. For some bizarre reason, this amazing technology is used to put a wormhole in the bottom of the ocean, with the other end connecting to Mars, deep space, the Gamma Quadrant, the year 3712, or what-have-you. Oceans get mostly drained away, viola! Desert planet.

I guess you could say that people were trying to lower sea levels a little bit by putting he wormhole in the ocean, but this is really dumb. If the technology worked, it would find a lot more uses before lowering sea levels, even if NYC were about to drown.

A more plausible scenario is that the wormhole was created in a lab, but the scientists immediately lost control and it drifted into the ocean on it's own. This is also stupid, because the first experiments would be to connect one end of the lab to the other with a wormhole, not jump straight to wormholing to the 300'th century, deep space, or wherever. But let's just say their calculations were wildly off, and they meant to build a tiny gateway across the lab, ended up building a huge one across the universe.

Alternately, if you want something even more plausible with modern-day or near-future technology (but still ridiculous), you could say that the CERN supercollider, in the search for the Higgs Boson (still ongoing) generated a black hole. (Actually has happened). Rather than be tiny, unstable, and evaporating within seconds, this black hole got bigger, but stabilized at some intermediate size (rather than growing enough to swallow the entire planet, then the solar system), and migrated into the ocean, somehow. It then proceeded to drain the oceans, same as the wormhole. Once this was done, it disappated. Of course, the current estimation of black holes indicate that the water would (explosively) be returned to Earth upon the destruction of the black hole, but nobody really knows, (or if they do, they haven't figured out a way to explain it to most laymen) so you could treat it like a big bathtub drain to dimension-x if you wanted. Also, this black hole would suck in all the air as well. Everybody dead. Or maybe it "rolled" into the ocean (from Switzerland!) before it could swallow all the air.

Actually here, this is the best one: A miniscule stable black hole was generated. It slowly absorbed a tiny bit of air, as it was stable on the microscopic level. It was too small or too weak to absorb solid matter (it's gravitational attraction was weaker than the chemical bonds of solids, but stronger than the chemical bonds of water molecules. The dust-mote black hole drifted, unnoticed, into a sink, toilet, or floor drain at CERN. At some point it got flushed into a river. Now, the black hole is eating water and gaining mass/size. It "floats" down to the sea, still enlarging and sucking in water. It eventually sinks to one of the deepest parts of the ocean, continues to drain the water levels. Over the years it gets bigger and the drop in sea levels increases. Finally, when it's drained the majority of the world's water, it is exposed to air. At it's present size it is no longer stable unless immersed in liquid and *poof* it evaporates to dimension-X along with all the water.

This is still total nonsense, of course. The black hole would eventully start absorbing solid matter as well, and destroy the world, but most people could suspend that level of disbelief, I think. But maybe the wormhole scenario is best...

In these scenarios, quite a bit of water would remain in the Med. and other isolated bodies of water, once they were drained below a certain level. Quite a bit, but not enough. Your water-hoarding scenario could take place. Maybe whoever claims ownership of the Med. uses the economic influence of being the biggest water-lender around to consolidate their holdings and drain/take control of all the other remaining sources (Great Lakes, Black Sea, etc.)
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Old 08-29-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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I know you are trying to blame it to the advance of science, but it is not going to happen.
The answer to your question is right in front of you --> Mars.

The current most believeable causes is struck by huge meteor and loose its magnetic shield and blown by solar wind. Google it.

According to the speed of the advance of our science, our offsprings will be living in space, visiting earth as entertainment purposes only(as green as you want), extracting resource from other planets directly, converting energy from mass and mass from energy, travelling to other star systems...

Since we can convert energy <-> mass, we need no sun to support our life and free to travel to other stars.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
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Have the earth get hit by a giant asteroid. One large enough to slow the rotation of the planet enough to lessen gravity (this could also be used to blast much of our water into space). Then have the solar wind begin to quickly dissipate the earth's water. Enough that when mankind used a series of thermo nuclear explosions in sequence to speed up the earth's rotation there was almost no water left.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weltschmerz View Post
It can't. The amount of water on earth is constant. It doesn't increase or decrease; it just changes forms.
Constant? Not if the water is completely removed from the Earth, in which case the amount of water on the Earth then becomes decreased. For example, the bags containing the bodily waste nappies left on the Moon include feces and urine, both of which contain water, albeit a very small amount. Regardless, that water is no longer available on Earth.

Further, if, and it's still a very big IF, people are ever sent on a mission to Mars, they're going to need to take water along with them. Mars appears to have frozen water below the surface, but it will take time to extract it and filter it to make it useful for human consumption. If robotics can be employed to do the grunt work before a manned mission lands on Mars, water will still have to be taken along during the journey to the red planet, plenty of it, to ensure the survival of the crew. That water would no longer be available on Earth.
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