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Okay fellow nerds, I am in need of assistance. I am making a fan-made map for a book series and I have run into a problem. The problem being while I love making maps (fun hobby) I am trying to reconcile what I know about the world from the story, and my limited geological knowledge. I was pulling my hair out, so I decided to turn to my friend the interwebs.

Here is the map I have so far:

enter image description here

On the left, there needs to be the mountain range and forests as are. And in the top right there needs to be a Sahara-esk type dune desert. This continent occupies a similar latitude positioning as the red square in the following image.

enter image description here

What I need to know, and what I am asking you all, is where would I geologically put another range of mountains. There is one, narrative-wise, we just don't know where.

Originally I was planning on having the mountain range look like this:

enter image description here

For the top mountain range, the rain shadow would need to be on the left, but for the other range, I'm not sure is the rain-shadow would be in spot 1 or 2. And for that matter, I didn't even know if it made sense for the second range to be where it was.

I don't get how wind and weather works much, so the question is, with the first mountain range, forests, and desert to stay where they are, where would you put more mountains?

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  • $\begingroup$ Is forest in the red circle? $\endgroup$ – Willk Jun 27 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, no, my bad. The forests are the two dark shrubby looking places just to the right of the upper left mountains. $\endgroup$ – Nathaniel Oberst Jun 27 at 21:27
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Well, the first thing you didn't mention to consider was where the tectonic plates are. Normally, mountains and mountain ranges are formed at the edge of the plates, right? So, you would need to specify if there are any plate edges around or below the continent.:)

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  • $\begingroup$ Your point re plate tectonics in generally correct, but mountains don't have to be along the edge. Consider the Rocky Mountains of North America, and the Basin & Range province between them and the Sierra Nevada/Cascades. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jun 28 at 4:47
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Mountains in the middle?

I looked at some real islands to see if I could perceive any patterns. I looked at islands that I thought would not have ever had any glaciation. Here are Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. Madagascar is a little far south but Borneo and Papua New Guinea are both within the latitude you want.

I flipped and rotated them to put mountains in the top left where your island has its mountains.

maps

https://en-gb.topographic-map.com/maps/lsk9/Borneo/

Mountains come down the middle, which is most evident with Papua New Guinea.

Mountains down the coast?

The above are really big islands - all over 100,000 square km. Maybe mountains in the middle is associated with bigness?

I looked at some smaller islands. Here are Cuba and Sardinia which are still sizable but in the 10s of 1000s of square km so an order of magnitude less area than Borneo.

maps

It looks to me like for these medium size islands the mountains hug one coast.

You could pattern your island on one of the above, depending on how big your island is.

As regards forests if your island is equatorial I suspect it is going to have forests. Look at Borneo on the Google Maps satellite map. It is 100% green! Of the above, Madagascar and Sardinia are the ones with dry areas but they are also both outside of your desired latitude.

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A complex issue. Its going to come down to the prevailing wind conditions and how wide the bodies of water are around your continent? Using your comparative latitude map as an example the prevailing winds over Northern Africa flow East to West until as you get to the Med when they start to shift in the opposite direction.

In the case of your map North/South prevailing winds lets you keep your forests as they are as long as you place a high mountain chain 'shading' the region you want as desert.

If the winds are East to West your desert needs a tall coastal mountain range to shield it and you can explain the western forests in their lee as being maintained by something like seasonal monsoon winds that flow up that coast from the south with generally dry conditions prevailing otherwise. However your second map looks like you are going with Westerly wind flows.

So if the winds are from West to East you would need to make those western mountains low and heavily eroded. Something like the Great dividing range in Australia or the Appalachians for instance. i.e tall enough to be geologically significant but not so tall as to disrupt/deflect the general wind/rain pattern. And of course you put a high/extensive mountain range West of the desert. Your second mountain chain would have a wind shadow at point 2 but should probably be higher up the continent i.e. more inland possibly traversing the map north/south'ish'.

The size of the water bodies around the land mass is significant because (very broadly) depending on the wind direction the size of the body of water those winds have to cross before reaching your map will impact on how much moisture they pick up on the way.

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    $\begingroup$ BTW Your map looks an awful lot like Tasmania. $\endgroup$ – Mon Jul 2 at 1:50

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