As the title says, I'm trying to write a theory for a game called Timberborn where I figure out the backstory of the game. But I need help identifying a chemical in the game. It's called Badwater, and according to the game, it's polluted water, but I'd like to know your guesses about what it could be. Here are the details I already know:

  1. It's an Orangish-Reddish colour, about the colour of bloody lava.
  2. If beavers get doused in it, they get contaminated, which means they're tired, can't work, and eventually die, but if they walk on land that its contaminated, carry containers of it, or stand close to large pools of it, they're perfectly fine, which makes me think it's not radioactive, despite the game using the radioactivity symbol.
  3. You can use it to make "Extract", which you can use to make medicine for contaminated beavers and as an Ingredient to strengthen Dynamite.
  4. It comes from "Badwater Sources" which are old human ruins found near mines.
  5. As it flows, it soaks into the ground and spreads about 7 blocks, killing all plant life on top of it, and makes the ground look like it has cracks in it.
  6. It dilutes in normal water.

A Badwater source draining into a clean river.

  • $\begingroup$ What makes you think there's anything really matches it? That's just some arbitrary properties. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Nov 8, 2023 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ I just want to know if there's anything that could be similar. $\endgroup$
    – Anonymous
    Nov 8, 2023 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ By the way, thanks to whoever changed the tags. I'm really terrible at choosing good tags. $\endgroup$
    – Anonymous
    Nov 8, 2023 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


While this is a game, and I wouldn't like to assume the developers researched environmental issues which occur in the real world, what you describe sounds very similar to what I learned about in undergraduate chemistry concerning acid mine drainage (AMD).

To give you a specific quote, according to Akcil and Koldas:$^1$

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is produced when sulfide-bearing material is exposed to oxygen and water. The production of AMD usually – but not exclusively – occurs in iron sulfide-aggregated rocks. Although this process occurs naturally, mining can promote AMD generation simply through increasing the quantity of sulfides exposed. Naturally-occurring bacteria can accelerate AMD production by assisting in the breakdown of sulfide minerals.

The specific type we were taught about was in connection with pyrite contamination:

$$\ce{FeS2(s) + 7/2 O2(g) + H2O(l) -> Fe^{2+}(aq) + 2SO4^{2-}(aq) + 2H^+(aq)}$$

Microbial oxidisation leads to:

$$\ce{4Fe^{2+}(aq) + O2(aq) + 4H^+(aq) -> 4Fe^{3+}(aq) + 2H2O(l)}$$

$$\ce{FeS2(s) + 14Fe^{3+}(aq) + 8H2O(l) -> 15Fe^{2+}(aq) + 2SO4^{2-}(aq) + 16H^+(aq)}$$

This is what it looks like in real life:

Rio Tinto river

And here are some links to further information about it (as well as some more impressive pictures):

Acid drainage: the global environmental crisis you’ve never heard of (The Conversation)

Acid mine drainage - a legacy of an industrial past (RSC)

Hopefully this helps!

  1. A. Akcil and S. Koldas, Acid Mine Drainage (AMD): causes, treatment and case studies, J. Cleaner Prod., 2006, 14, 1139-1145.

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