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  1. petey0707

    petey0707 Member

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    An ocean/sea without waves, or very little waves..

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by petey0707, Sep 19, 2016.

    Could any of you more scientifically minded folk explain to me what would cause a world to potentially cease having waves? Or not have them in the first place? I'm aware the moon is the cause of them, but is it solely the moon, or are there other factors involved? What would be a creative way to explain how the ocean no longer is the life-filled cesspool it once was? In my story, the sea is little more than dead, and ashen thus it's very difficult to travel by water.

    Thoughts or Advice?
     
  2. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No moon and no wind. The absence of a moon is easy. The absence of wind, not so easy to explain if the planet is rotating. If the planet were tidally locked with it's sun it might not rotate. Not sure that would mean an absence of wind. I'd have to look into it.
     
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  3. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    No wind: Going by logic: not possible. You have an atmosphere, that means gas. You have steep differences in temperatures (dark side vs side turned towards sun) -> wind. Can't see any way around that one, short of removing the atmosphere entirely.

    Dead ocean: High acidic/alkaline level, high temperature, both of these coming about abruptly in geological terms.

    No waves: I don't see how that would be possible. Waves are created not only by wind (which I think would be there in any case) and tidal forces, but also by currents in the ocean (aka differences in temperatures, there it is again) running with different velocity at different depths of the sea, running over bathymetry of the seafloor (aka shallow waters, banks, seamounts).

    No way would it be possible to remove differences in temperatures (be it atmospheric or in fluid 'water'), but that's what you'd need.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2016
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  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I took a ferry once across one of the Great Lakes, it was as smooth as glass, weird since in the middle you cannot see land in any direction. So it can happen. But I agree with you, a planet with no wind ever is improbable.
     
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  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Contributor

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    Yeah sure :) For a short time, or even (in some areas) frequently. But the TS asked for a permanent cause..
     
  6. petey0707

    petey0707 Member

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    Interesting. Maybe I should clarify. I just wanted sea travel in a world lacking in technology to be substantially more difficult. The sea is soiled, and some areas thick to the point where it's almost possible to walk on, yet there's still a sea nonetheless. The world is essentially post-apocalypse. There is of course wind and I want there to be a moon but with little effect tidally. Perhaps the polluted waters can be an explanation in of itself. The main reason is because I wanted the populace to seek alternatives to sea travel such as primitive aerial means. Even ways that coincide with the sea, if that makes sense..

    An influence for this was HP Lovecrafts Dagon, by the way, if that helps at all :p
     
  7. Necronox

    Necronox Active Member

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    It also depends on the viscoscity of the water. if the water has large amounts of impurities, it might make it more viscous (i.e more like honey) and thus less prone to waves. You don't have to go all the way to honey, but perhaps if you have large amounts of sediments or similar type of impurities, it could make it viscous enough where water doesn't form waves regularly.

    If the world is apocalyptic, then the above scenario of it being thicker and denser then normal makes sense. However, sailing on calm waters is preferable to stormy seas - I do not see how removing waves from the sea would make it 'substantially more difficult' to sail or navigate on them. A permanent storm, that would make it difficult.
     
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  8. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's other ways of making sea travel difficult. Maybe there's a cultural anathema on it, so these people treat sea travellers the way we treat murderers. Maybe the sea's become acid enough that while you can technically sail in it, it'll corrode any any craft they can build too soon to get between landmasses. Things like that might make air travel an easier option.

    Does your world have any cultural memory of sea travel, or has it always been like this? If the sea's always been filth and they had no reason to want to get across it, they might just have never considered it as an option, even if it was possible.
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    Why would lacking waves make it more difficult to travel - surely a flat calm sea is easier to traverse
     
  10. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    What if it was pretty uniformly shallow? That would cause other problems, since the heat sink would be pretty minimal, but it it wasn't very deep, it wouldn't have serious waves or currents.
     
  11. Misusawa

    Misusawa New Member

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    With no waves, you would potentially cease oxidation of the sea itself, making it eventually anoxic and killing off all marine life that needs oxygen.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could go the opposite direction - instead of no waves, have brutal waves, huge storms, etc. making it unsafe to sail.

    Or have the pollution so bad it's like sailing through a swamp or an obstacle course - if there are enough plastic gyres or whatever else, and if the water itself is leaking fumes that make people sick, etc... they wouldn't want to go anywhere near it.

    Or does your world even need an ocean? I don't think they're mandatory.
     
  13. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    250 million years ago Earth experienced its largest mass extinction, wherein nearly all aquatic life was snuffed out.
    Scientists believe it was at least in part due to the release of massive amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas which depleted the ocean of dissolved oxygen.

    Personally, I think it would be far more interesting to have the oceans teeming with life, dangerous, nasty creatures... and that being a deterrent to ocean voyages.

    As far as the ocean being syrupy, I did read a book many years ago, Expedition; Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV, by Wayne Barlowe, and if memory serves on this far off world the ocean was thick as molasses. It did have a 'sciency' sounding reason for why the oceans had turned to muck, but I can't remember what it was.:)
     
  14. Commandante Lemming

    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, this may be an out-of-left field suggestion but if you're in a secondary world, nobody said your ocean has to be water. And if your ocean is made of anything that isn't water, you get a bunch of knock-on side effects. For instance, I've always thought it would be interesting to write life forms that exist in a system where the liquid component of the system is methane (i.e. Saturn's moon Titan). That changes everything - especially because if you have a non-water liquid component, ice would sink rather than float. So, you could play games with what the sea is actually made of and maybe use that to shift the relationship of the people to the sea. You could also probably also play games with the size of the planet, size of the moon (or moons, which could also alter your calculus), distance from the sun, etc.
     
  15. tonguetied

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think a possibility of a solid algae mat growth might do the trick. If you have paddle in a swamp and get to a spot that has very thick matted plants such as algae and water hyacinth, you essentially cannot penetrate it. If you tried to walk on it you would sink much like quick sand and most likely drown. An extremely lighter than water craft, such as huge balloon tires, might be able to roll across it and of course a hovercraft would work but if there are no islands to stop at a hovercraft might leave you in a pickle if the engine fails, run out of fuel, etc.
     
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  16. psychotick

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    No moon and freezing cold. Ie solid land masses of ice everywhere to block wind from whipping up waves and stop tidal effects. Nuclear winter might explain the freezing temperatures.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  17. psychotick

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    No moon and freezing cold. Ie solid land masses of ice everywhere to block wind from whipping up waves and stop tidal effects. Nuclear winter might explain the freezing temperatures.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  18. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds like a longboarder.
     
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  19. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    A flat calm is terrible for sailors. "Becalmed," if you're going by sail, is the last thing you want to be. Check out this NOAA article on the Horse Latitudes.

    Now, if you're operating by way of engines, a calm sea might make it easier. But if the water is polluted, it could be bad for the mechanism, and that would slow a ship down.
     
  20. Necronox

    Necronox Active Member

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    I don't think it's the calm sea itself being a problem, but the lack of wind during the age of sailing ships which use wind. An ship with oars or if talking more modern, with engines, then I do not see how a calm sea would negatively impact the time and speed of the ship.
     
  21. Scot

    Scot Contributing Member

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    I've been thinking about this thread for a while, and how nonsensical a wave free ocean would be.
    And then something came to me: The Ballad of Reading Gaol, by Oscar Wilde, where:-
    .......
    Terror was lying still

    So still it lay that every day
    Crawled like a weed-clogged wave.

    So there's your answer.
     
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  22. tonguetied

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    This thread hangs on Petey0707 like an albatross around his neck. :)

    Still waters run deep so no anchorage in this thread. His windlass is windless so heft that anchor by hand matey.

    BTW, I have never heard of the moon creating waves, tides yes, but waves?
     
  23. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    There will come a day when the Moon drags us towards our star.

    On that day we, the people of Earth, discard the Moon. North Korea rules the roost, Kim-Il-S.Yun Jr appointed senator of America, fires a cluster of rockets attached to nets - through the vacuum of space, sends the Moon on her own way in moon netting. And down Here, we have a beach party:

    'Bye bye, cheese breath.'

    Meanwhile, having driven a spike through Earth's core, scientists put a brake on spinnage. All very simple fact in fiction.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  24. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    The gravitational interaction of the Sun and Moon cause the tides... the rise and fall of our tides are actually considered waves.
     
  25. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...called tides.
     
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