Ocean Worlds

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Ocean Worlds

Post by marasama on 15th December 2008, 2:15 am

Just trying to think up of different types of oceans on other worlds.

The list I came up with is:
HOT
1) Molten iron/iron-nickel mix
2) Heavy Water mix, ie. Maybe on Venus at one time...
3) Hot oceans of water mix, usually would be on more massive planets with denser atmospheres.
4) Molten sulfur water mix, is possible, pockets of molten sulfur has been found at the bottom of the ocean. The pockets displace the water to be nearly sulfur.

WARM
1) Salt ocean (sodium chloride), ie. Earth
2) Water + Hydrogen Peroxide mix, uncertain
3) Carbonic Acid (carbon-rich), maybe a mixture of Carbonyls & Carbonic
4) Rusty Water (iron-rich)
5) Sulfuric Acid (sulfur-rich), possible for maybe shallower oceans.
6) Crude Oil ocean, possible, either by biological, non-biological, or both.

COLD
1) Epsom Salt Ocean (Magnesium sulfate), ie. Europa?
2) Methane/Ethane, ie. Titan
3) Hydrogen Chloride mix. Hydrogen chloride breaks down in sun light, so probably far from a sun to get large quantities.
4) Liquid hydrogen/helium mix, usually on gas giant planets.
5) Liquid ammonia mix, can be either nearly ammonia ocean or diluted in water to lower the freezing value.

Other stuffs:
1) Hydrofluoric Acid, will mix with water and due to the abundance, it is likely to either collect in pockets or is diluted in water.
2) Larger amounts, but not fully, oceans mix with lithium chloride salts.
3) Potassium type salt oceans?

Points (Speculations):
* Possible rule of thumb is that water is prominent. Cold areas, the water will freeze to ice leaving other chemicals to form the liquid oceans. Or certain chemicals can mix with water to lower the freezing temperature forming other water type oceans.
* Hot planets can vaporize water or loose oxygen and hydrogen ions. Thus forming other types of non-water oceans if liquids can form.
* Certain chemicals can be hydroscopic and absorb the water and locking it, allowing other chemicals to take its place. But due to the abundance, more likely will be a water-mix type.
* If the planet has a wide tilt and maybe even a long orbit to allow a long dark winter in the poles, then maybe exotic chemicals can form. A tilt like Uranus or tidal lock planets could have two types of oceans. Image the lit side be a salt ocean and the dark side be a methane-rich oceans with some water. Could even be that the methane evaporates on the lit side and flow to the dark side to rain down on the surface.

Any others?


Last edited by marasama on 16th December 2008, 10:45 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by NuclearVacuum on 15th December 2008, 3:57 pm


  • Muriatic Acid (chlorine-rich), rare but not impossible.
  • Ammonia (Hydrogen nitride)


These are the only two that I can think of (that's not in your list). Also, what does "Heavy Water mix" mean exactly?

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 15th December 2008, 4:48 pm

NuclearVacuum wrote:Also, what does "Heavy Water mix" mean exactly?

Heavy water is water in which the hydrogen atom is a deuterium isotope. Deuterium, having one neutron, is heavier than protium, which has none (Protium is the usual hydrogen atom, one proton, one electron).

Heavy water is found in nature in very small concentrations.


Last edited by Sirius_Alpha on 15th December 2008, 7:30 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Can't spell "Protium" worth a flip lol.)

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by NuclearVacuum on 15th December 2008, 9:17 pm

Sirius_Alpha wrote:Heavy water is water in which the hydrogen atom is a deuterium isotope. Deuterium, having one neutron, is heavier than protium, which has none (Protium is the usual hydrogen atom, one proton, one electron).

Oh... weird. I suck at complex chemistry, so that sounds new to me lol!

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 15th December 2008, 10:17 pm

Don't feel too bad, I'm not nearly as good in Chemistry as I wish I were. I found Heavy Water on Wikipedia and was fascinated by it "I want to drink that". So it stuck to memory.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by marasama on 16th December 2008, 2:28 am

NuclearVacuum wrote:Also, what does "Heavy Water mix" mean exactly?
Basically, the planet leeches/evaporates the hydrogen out leaving mostly the heavier hydrogen. Thus, the water would collect and have a higher concentration of heavy water. The lifespan of these oceans or lakes is another story.

NuclearVacuum wrote:● Muriatic Acid (chlorine-rich), rare but not impossible.
● Ammonia (Hydrogen nitride)
Oh, yeah. I forgot about Hydrochloric Acid.
As for the liquid ammonia, Ammonium chloride is a possibility.
Since Hydrochloric Acid = HCl & Ammonium Chloride = NH4Cl, there is a possibility of it being mixed together.
But, I am uncertain if HCl stays that way in the cold.
NH4Cl fume with the mixing of HCl & NH3

At this point, gonna need an expert chemist on this matter....

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Lazarus on 16th December 2008, 7:18 am

Do we want to count the outer core as a subterranean iron/nickel ocean?
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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by marasama on 16th December 2008, 4:40 pm

As surface ocean.

However, a protoplanet or extreme tidally stressed planet can exhibit a surface molten iron, iron-nickel, heavy metal ocean.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by NuclearVacuum on 16th December 2008, 5:22 pm

I once heard something about hydrogen peroxide oceans, and hydrofluoric acid oceans. But these might just be wild guesses. What do you think?

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by marasama on 16th December 2008, 10:09 pm

NuclearVacuum wrote:I once heard something about hydrogen peroxide oceans, and hydrofluoric acid oceans. But these might just be wild guesses. What do you think?
Forgot about that one.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by marasama on 16th December 2008, 10:37 pm

Significant update on the first post above. 12/16/08 updated.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by NuclearVacuum on 17th December 2008, 3:04 pm

I am probably wrong, but it would be more likely that hydrogen chloride would mix with water (similar to how salt is mixed with water on our planet), in turn making muriatic acid. In this case, the planet would need to be warm (nearly as warm or warmer than the Earth). But like I said, I suck at chemistry.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Edasich on 17th December 2008, 4:08 pm

I was thinking about some kind of young massive terrestrial planets (3-15 Me) with alcohol oceans. They could orbit O or B-type stars in young protoplanetary disks.
I was coming up this eerie idea thinking about the fact the entire Orion Nebula alcohol content would fill a 1 Earth-mass globe.

Very very surreal, I'm aware. alien
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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Lazarus on 17th December 2008, 4:46 pm

Not an expert chemist here (that kind of stuff is too complicated), but some problems with potential scenarios.

  • Hydrofluoric acid reacts with silicon dioxide (rock) on short timescales. Also readily reacts with organics, so putting this on a carbon planet wouldn't help either. Reactive = unstable in the planetary environment.
  • Hydrogen peroxide spontaneously decomposes. Reactive = unstable in the planetary environment.<li>Hydrochloric acid (=muriatic acid if you want to be baroque) ... hmmm... I don't think this one is particularly plausible because it would typically react with surface materials to form salts, but if you've got a biosphere that (for whatever reason, maybe it could evolve as a microbial defense/anti-competitor measure, or an alternative photosynthesis system) is pumping chlorine into the air, you might get dilute hydrochloric acid oceans.

And here's some more possible scenarios...

Before Voyager 2, it was predicted that Triton might have liquid nitrogen seas at its surface, not entirely sure how feasible this would be in reality.

I'm not sure about carbon dioxide - given that the base of the Venusian atmosphere is well above the critical point of CO2, you could regard Venus as having a supercritical CO2 ocean (the other major atmospheric constituent is nitrogen, it's also above the critical point for that). Whether it would be possible to have a cold Venus analogue with actual liquid carbon dioxide, I don't know.
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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Edasich on 17th December 2008, 5:55 pm

Lazarus wrote:

  • Hydrofluoric acid reacts with silicon dioxide (rock) on short timescales. Also readily reacts with organics, so putting this on a carbon planet wouldn't help either. Reactive = unstable in the planetary environment.
  • Hydrogen peroxide spontaneously decomposes. Reactive = unstable in the planetary environment.
  • Hydrochloric acid (=muriatic acid if you want to be baroque) ... hmmm... I don't think this one is particularly plausible because it would typically react with surface materials to form salts, but if you've got a biosphere that (for whatever reason, maybe it could evolve as a microbial defense/anti-competitor measure, or an alternative photosynthesis system) is pumping chlorine into the air, you might get dilute hydrochloric acid oceans.

Gosh, this is the Puggle-Na homeworld's bane! affraid

*if you don't know what a "puggle-na" is, take a look at John M. Dollan's ArcBuilder homepage...*

As for me, I don't find chlorine acid planets feasible. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by marasama on 17th December 2008, 11:40 pm

If alcohol oceans exist, they will have to be far from a sun. Alcohol vaporizes a lot quicker than water does.

HCl oceans can only be on cold planets, since they photodissociate from sunlight. It is speculated that Titan could form this in the atmosphere during the long winters on either poles that stays out of the sunlight. But, it will probably diluted, if Lazarus is correct on the reactiveness.

Hydrofluoric Acid will probably be in the same boat, fully diluted.

I think that H2O2 mix could exist on planets that lost a high percentage of hydrogen. But, then again, the extra oxygen could bind with other materials.

Yeah, forgot about liquid nitrogen. It kind of is speculated on Charon.

Yeah, CO2 & CO mix on colder worlds or hot gas giants is possible. Hotter gas giants will have CO in the atmosphere. If I remember correctly.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by NuclearVacuum on 18th December 2008, 8:49 am

marasama wrote:HCl oceans can only be on cold planets, since they photodissociate from sunlight. It is speculated that Titan could form this in the atmosphere during the long winters on either poles that stays out of the sunlight. But, it will probably diluted, if Lazarus is correct on the reactiveness.

How cold are we talking about? A little bit cold or extreme cold?

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by marasama on 18th December 2008, 11:37 pm

NuclearVacuum wrote:How cold are we talking about? A little bit cold or extreme cold?
I don't know...

But, it can be on Titan, since they speculate Titan of forming HCl. Due to the long winter cycles at the poles where it is in total darkness, it may form that chemicals. But the amount did not warranted for an ocean, though.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by NuclearVacuum on 19th December 2008, 11:38 am

marasama wrote:
NuclearVacuum wrote:How cold are we talking about? A little bit cold or extreme cold?
I don't know...

But, it can be on Titan, since they speculate Titan of forming HCl. Due to the long winter cycles at the poles where it is in total darkness, it may form that chemicals. But the amount did not warranted for an ocean, though.

Oh?? Sorry to be asking too many questions about that. I am working on a planet that has oceans of muriatic acid, and I placed it around where Venus is, so I just want to make sure I didn't make a huge scientific error.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Lazarus on 19th December 2008, 12:10 pm

Reference for Titan HCl?

(Is "muriatic acid" a usage common elsewhere in the world - I've always heard it referred to as "hydrochloric acid")
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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by NuclearVacuum on 19th December 2008, 2:13 pm

Lazarus wrote:Is "muriatic acid" a usage common elsewhere in the world - I've always heard it referred to as "hydrochloric acid"

That's (at least) how you say it in Florida (where I am). Because that is how all pool stores mark it.

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Re: Ocean Worlds

Post by Lazarus on 19th December 2008, 2:58 pm

Really? Is it taught in chemistry lessons as "muriatic acid" too? I can imagine the manufacturers using a different name to hydrochloric to avoid "scary science syndrome" - similar reasons why MRI is not called nuclear magnetic resonance, because the public didn't want to go near anything with the word "nuclear" in it...
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