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In the Inferno episode of Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard's team meets a civilization about to be destroyed by a super-volcano, and is trapped there when the Stargate is destroyed during the evacuation.

From GateWorld:

McKAY: Look, you're still not getting it. Listen to me, all of you. When this thing erupts, the force of the explosion will be over ten thousand times greater than the blast that destroyed Mount St. Helens. It will obliterate half of this continent.

WEIR: There must be other continents.

McKAY: The dust cloud will envelop the planet within weeks, blocking out enough sunlight to kill every living thing. We are talking about an Extinction Level Event. (To Lycus) Look, the only option you've got is to evacuate your people to another planet -- and I would advise doing it sooner rather than later.

...

BECKETT: How long before the Daedalus is able to return?

TEYLA: Twelve hours to travel to Atlantis and back.

BECKETT: Twelve hours? And they hope there's enough time to make four trips?

Why not just temporarily teleport first batch en masse to Daedalus then proceed on impulse to other side of the planet teleport first batch down to some mountain on the other side of the planet, impulse back and repeat?

After everyone is on the other side of the planet. Transport first group to Daedalus hyperdrive to Atlantis, then after twelve hours deadalus is back and repeat for the remaining groups for the next two days. Plenty of time to evacuate everyone before the dust cloud covers the entire planet.

See also this BBC article.

Edit additional

What gives the remaining civilians better odds:

  • moving them on the other side of the planet now
  • or having them remain at ground zero?

With regards to toxic gases: which location has less toxic gas density (within the two day evac timeframe)

  • ground zero or
  • the other side of the planet?

Take note by the time Daedalus returned for the second batch. The civilians with Teyla and Ronon were already breathing toxic gas at ground zero - while the other side of the planet would still be clear.

With regards to particulates and teleportation and the remaining batches of people, which location would have less particulate density (within the two day evac timeframe)

  • ground zero or
  • the other side of the planet?

After the first twelve hours (with respect to particulate density), which would be more successful

  • teleporting the second batch from ground zero or
  • teleporting the second batch from the other side of the planet?

After the first 24 hours (with respect to particulate density), which would be more successful

  • teleporting the third batch from ground zero or
  • teleporting the third batch from the other side of the planet?

After the first 36 hours (with respect to particulate density), which would be more successful

  • teleporting the fourth batch from ground zero or
  • teleporting the fourth batch from the other side of the planet?

If Sheppard succeeds with the Orion - Daedalus can still beam civilians on the other side of the planet into Orion and continue with the evac from there. If Sheppard fails (not likely of course) Daedalus still has the option to save as many as it can.

In essence what Sheppard did with the Orion (move the civilians to safer location in orbit) is the same (in essence) as moving the civilians to a safer location at the other side of the planet.

Which would you prefer, a plan that gives more options or less?

batch teleport in action

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    Excellent question. The real answer is plot hole, but one could argue the orbiting the planet would take too long to keep everyone alive. – James Sheridan Nov 25 '14 at 5:50
  • @James Sheridan apologies James I should have been more specific. I added proceed on impulse to the other side of the planet. – tls Nov 25 '14 at 7:18
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    That would not have done much good, a super-volcano would have negatively impacted the world's weather for years to come. – Hikaru Ichijyo Nov 25 '14 at 7:36
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    @HikaruIchijyo: The Daedalus was coming to pick up the locals. It was just a matter of keeping them out of the destruction zone long enough for the Daedalus to pick them up. – James Sheridan Nov 25 '14 at 7:59
  • @JamesSheridan - But wouldn't the particulates that entering the atmosphere interrupt with the evacuation as they negatively impact the atmosphere/environment globally? – Hikaru Ichijyo Nov 25 '14 at 8:09
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You (and McKay) may be under-estimating the violence of the explosion that's about to take place. The mooted "Yellowstone Supervolcano" in your link is estimated to be some 1000-2000 times the explosive force of Mount St Helens. The blast that's about to happen on Taranis is going to be over ten times larger and that's just a rough guesstimate.

McKAY: Look, you're still not getting it. Listen to me, all of you. When this thing erupts, the force of the explosion will be over ten thousand times greater than the blast that destroyed Mount St Helens. It will obliterate half of this continent.

It's likely that in the time it takes to airlift the population to the other side of the planet (plus the 4 x 12-hour round trips that then need to take place afterwards) that there's a pretty good chance that a death-shroud of gas and dust will have engulfed the entire planet, rendering the rescue of later groups next to impossible due to the interference of the dust on the targeting scanners.

That's of course assuming that the explosion-effects (earthquakes, poisonous gas, tsunami, etc) aren't large enough to result in the immediate deaths of everyone on the planet whichever side they're hiding on.

  • Seems like they could have been "airlifted" very quickly (minutes, if the speed at which batch teleports have been seen to work before is any indication), and thus it would be worth trying. I'm not convinced by this. – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 25 '14 at 13:44
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit - Because bad writing. – Valorum Nov 25 '14 at 13:52
  • Naturally ;) That's out-of-universe, though. – Lightness Races in Orbit Nov 25 '14 at 13:55
  • if a volcano is massive enough to destroy most of the continent, the gas / dust cloud is going to envelope the planet it a matter of minutes. were not dealing with hours or days. an event similar to this is typically what is attributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. where not talking about a ooo look the sun is obscured, where talking a cloud of debris moving extremely fast and when it hits you, you die, unless your in a bunker but then your buried – Himarm Nov 25 '14 at 14:17
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    @Himarm. I might be wrong. Gas/dust to cover an entire planet in minutes? what kind of initial velocity (for gas/dust) are we talking about. Dont you need the planets own wind patters to spread dust. www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/possible_causes.html Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 provided a good example of how a large low-latitude eruption can quickly influence global climate. Fig. 10 shows how in nine days the sulfur dioxide plume had spread into both hemispheres and around half the planet. also gateworld.net/atlantis/s2/219.shtml for a picture of the volcano and the planet – tls Nov 25 '14 at 16:57
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Richard hit most of it except:

McKAY: Look, you're still not getting it. Listen to me, all of you. When this thing erupts, the force of the explosion will be over ten thousand times greater than the blast that destroyed Mount St. Helens. It will obliterate half of this continent.

Judging by the size of most of the planets that support life in Stargate. They are roughly 1 to the 10th magnitude of the size of earth, either larger or smaller, the force of the volcanic explosion would actually destroy half to 3/4 of the planet. Due to the force the people on the planet would not survive either scenario.

Another thing to keep in mind. It is very difficult to find uninhabited worlds that

  1. Are not swarming with wraith/some dangerous creature. (some planets are uninhabited by humanoids for a reason)

  2. Have a livable atmosphere/climate.

While yes the writers should have considered this, it was a better plan in general to save the planet rather than the people.

  • To all - guys i'm just going to add my comment as an edit to my original post. – tls Nov 26 '14 at 4:16

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