The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

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The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Zor » 2017-02-04 04:15pm

Inspired by this map from Steven Universe...
HUGE ASS IMAGE
In this scenario in 1150 due to a quantum displacement event much of Siberia is replaced with the Siberian Sea. The area around the Siberian Sea is uninhabited but does have a few mammoths, Wooly Rhinos, white furred descendants of Homo Erectus and some other such creatures.

What happens?

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Re: The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-02-04 08:51pm

Do the other changes in this map happen, or only that one?

First off, expect climate change. Siberia is an inland, continental region. The Siberian Sea is far enough north that it probably freezes over in winter, or at least most of it does, but it still acts to moderate the climate of the areas around it. The history of the Mongols may change significantly due to climate change altering grazing patterns and so on, even assuming that large parts of their culture aren't abruptly replaced by seawater (not sure, depends on exact locations).

If the Mongol conquests of the 1200s don't get butterflied, history probably proceeds more or less unchanged up to the 1500s and 1600s, when historically Russia expanded eastward into Siberia, in their version of the Wild West. Here, that expansion stops at the edge of the new Sea, although I'm sure the Russians will happily build ships and (in summertime when it's not covered in pack ice) cross the inland sea to settle the peninsula formed on the other side. Exact consequences for Russian history are hard to predict. The Russians will probably try to secure control of the southern coast of the Siberian Sea, and given how weak the Mongols and Chinese were in the late 1700s and 1800s, they will probably succeed. Availability of sea traffic across the sea during the warmer months reduces pressure to build the Trans-Siberian Railroad but does not eliminate it. Furthermore, travel on the Siberian Sea is likely to be impossible during winter, as even if part of it isn't frozen over, there will be problems with icebergs. So the incentive to build the railroad is still there.

The first significantly butterflied historical event, in my opinion, is the Russo-Japanese War.

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Re: The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Guardsman Bass » 2017-02-05 03:07am

How deep is the Siberian Sea? If it's shallow, then I'd expect at least the northern parts of it to be quite cold and freeze over in winter (as with the Hudson Bay) even if the southern areas of it are free of ice year-round and moderated by the water.

If it's deeper, though, then it's going to be a huge moderating influence on the weather in Asia. It will still be a relatively cold sea (because the only connection to the broader oceans will be through the Arctic), but most or all of it will be ice-free year round, and it will increase overall rainfall and mitigate temperature extremes through the entire continent. It might even make central Asia warmer, since the southern stretches of it are at the same latitude as the Black Sea and southern Europe and sea currents would carry that northward.

It will be settled pretty quickly as well, most likely by the Chinese first. They would build settlements along the southern and southeastern coastline of the Siberian Sea, and then the Sea itself would be a huge boon in terms of mobility throughout Asia. And if they could build a canal connecting it to a navigable water way further south . . .
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Re: The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-02-05 04:38am

Hm. I'm not sure the Chinese will settle that area; the Mongols are in the way. The presence of horse-archer cultures on the steppes limited China's northward expansion for something like 1500 to 2000 years. So I doubt that this will really change things that much unless the sea either physically replaces the Mongols' main stomping grounds (which I'm pretty sure it doesn't) or changes the climate of Mongolia so much that it makes settling down and practicing agriculture a lot more attractive in that area.

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Re: The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2017-02-05 12:38pm

The Steppes rapidly won't exist if a body of water that big is added, forest will begin to take hold, so will probably a lot of erosion from sudden rainfall increases. Also the Gobi desert basin might begin to flood slowly, though it would take a very long time to matter.
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Re: The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-02-05 05:01pm

Okay, that might well butterfly the Mongols out of the way, or at least neutralize the tactical advantages their lifestyle gives them to the point where they're no longer an insurmountable obstacle.

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Re: The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2017-02-05 05:14pm

To a certain point this would actually boost the Steppe people horse cultures, because higher vegetation growth rates and possibly milder winters would let them keep much larger numbers of herd animals. Its already thought that was a role in why the Mongol expansion happened when it did, a 20 year rainfall increase. But if forests begin to expand, and aren't cut back by the low population density, and erosion and heavier rainfall begin to make swamps and bogs and such that cows and horses can't traverse it will hit heavily against them and force cultural changes. Also a water barrier would probably encourage the Chinese to try to dominate them militarily, at least more so then historically, because its a hard barrier against which they can be pushed. And since the water should be ice free in summer trade routes would appear, which would encourage cities, some of which existed in that area anyway, to become more numerous and expand. And the whole silk road is going to be altered, and favor more northerly terminus in Europe, which would have a huge affect on overall European history.

Assuming this doesn't just cause another ice age anyway.
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Re: The Siberian Sea (RAR!)

Postby Guardsman Bass » 2017-02-07 10:36am

I know this is just positing the appearance of the Siberian Sea, but you might actually have a bigger impact culturally and politically if you magicked in the appearance of a major island chain bridging the gap between South America and Africa (as on the map) instead. Instead of transit between the continents involving a difficult open ocean crossing, ships could island hop between island ports across the gap - trade between Old World and New World civilizations would probably start happening in ancient times.
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