What would the terrain look like when you have city-sized creatures regularly passing over it?

The best real life analogue I could think of would be the Canadian Shield where the glaciers scraped back the surface layers.

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    $\begingroup$ It would depend on how heavy these things were, no? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jul 22, 2022 at 23:46
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    $\begingroup$ VTC: I tried not to VTC, but I gave up. (a) How many creatures per-day pass along the track? (b) How heavy are the creatures? (c) How many feet do they have? (d) What's the equivalent diameter of the foot? (e) Is there a tail? (f) How thick is the planet's mantle? (g) How fast are the critters moving? (h) Have you read the Mortal Engines books? (i) How wide are the creatures? (j) did the flora evolve with the fauna? (k) what's the planetary gravity? (l) Why can't you decide for yourself? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 23, 2022 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ @AdamKabbeke, item (L) is less facetious than you might think. What's the real problem here? You know these creatures are going to scrape the snot out of anything they pass over and you know they're going to compress the dirt something awful. So what's stopping you from making that choice and moving on? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 23, 2022 at 5:58
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    $\begingroup$ How fast do they move? If they take 1000 years to cross a continent, there may be a biome that follows them around $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Jul 23, 2022 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ This reminded me of The Herd I invented for this answer. worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/166251/… Except instead of The Herd it is just one thing. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jul 23, 2022 at 17:05

1 Answer 1


Well, it would be a wasteland for sure where the flora won't get much chance to grow dense.

Maybe forms of fungi as mushrooms can grow on the massive excrements the giants leave behind. Maybe some specialized scavengers can grub something nutritious out of the poop mountains, who knows...

The way the terrain is formed would depend on how the creatures move and the appendages they use to do it. If they crawl, you can hope for gigantic channels capable of relocate entire water bodies. If they slither, well those channels will be very sinuous. Walkers will leave a trail of deep and large craters behind. Now imagine what wigglers can do...

EDIT: just try to picture those massive dungs falling down from the rear of creatures several km tall... The impact would be analogous to meteors! It would be a meteorological phenomenon by itself...

Entire methane farms and biofuel power plants could be build just to extract energy from these marvelous remains.

Numerous businesses models could grow under the shadows of such giants. Maybe ecoturism? Imagine how much people would pay just to see the beasts terraforming the land just by moving?

  • $\begingroup$ I like the idea of a city sized slug leaving a natural disaster of mucous in it's wake. It would also probably exhaust water sources everywhere it went as a result. And if one dies, that's an ecological nightmare. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jul 23, 2022 at 4:13
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    $\begingroup$ Well, those creatures are already a ecological nightmare since most the ecology on their way ends up annihilated. When they die, maybe then life has the most chance to thrive, building collonies of several kinds like coral on a sunken ship. A true feast for scavengers like a dead whale in the bottom of the ocean. Geez, some scavengers can be like moles or meercats and build an entire colonie in the insides of the beast. $\endgroup$ Jul 23, 2022 at 4:21

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