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So I am trying to animate some tectonic plates for my geology class and I want to make the water fall as the plate moves and then go back up, creating some sort of waterfall loop, but I dont want it to spill to the sides. Any ideas of how I can do It?

Demonstration Image

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If I understand the question, this is fairly easy to do. In Blender 2.79-2.81 you need three different types of features for water. These are all selectable in the physics tab under the fluid button. You need the Domain of the problem which limits where the blender physics engine calculates the water interactions. This needs to be a rectangular block. Then you need your water (the ocean in your case) which can be larger than the domain, but only that part in the domain will be animated. Then you need a fluid obstacle which in your case are the tectonic plates. When you run the simulation by hitting 'bake' the water will not flow out of the domain unless you put a drain or an outflow in it. You can put an outflow between the plates and set it to drain only when the plates pull apart.

Hope this helps.

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    $\begingroup$ It wouls be useful to link to the official blender docs for fluid simulation. Also this doesn't really solve the problem as the domain must completely enclose all participants in the fluid simulation. Please read How to Answer. $\endgroup$ – Moog Oct 29 '19 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ Merlin, I fail to see how your point is relevant in this case. I did some further tests. and as I stated, the domain does not have to completely enclose the water, but only that fluid that is in the domain is involved in the calculations. You were correct that the obstacles have to be completely in the domain to affect the fluid, but this doesn't change the answer. Also I typically find the documentation to be: Out of date, inscrutable, incomplete, or just missing. My first stop is always YouTube and only if I can't find an answer there do I look for docs. If not there, then I ask here. :) $\endgroup$ – Scott VanKirk Nov 14 '19 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ Actually the fluid sim documentation is a) a primary resource and b) actually quite good, thorough and up to date. It's a shame you don't think it is relevant. Also the domain doesn't need to be a rectangular block, it is defined by the bounding box of the domain object. $\endgroup$ – Moog Nov 15 '19 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ That's good to know about the documentation. I'll check it out. Though hopefully the new Manta Flow build will be ready soon. $\endgroup$ – Scott VanKirk Nov 16 '19 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ I've always been curious about that and the Flip Fluids addon. So little time to play with these things sadly. $\endgroup$ – Moog Nov 16 '19 at 22:04
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To fake the water surface rather than to simulate it, an animated Noise texture used as bump on a Glass shader could be used, in particular when you don’t want to simulate spectacular tsunamis. Some hints can be taken from How to animate small water surfaces in structures?.

There is also the Ocean modifier (see various tutorials).

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