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Randall Munroe humorously proclaims that he'd want to live in an example map in a geography book;

XKCD

That means that the geography varies wildly in a small area.

Assuming the following:

  • This is on Earth or an Earth-like planet.
  • For the sake of this question, use the exact map above, including the location of the house.
  • The map is to scale (i.e. even though there's no explicit scale, the implicit one is consistent).

My question is threefold;

  • How could an area with this geography come to exist?
    • Preferably naturally, but artificially is OK.
  • Can this area be stable? For example, will a flood irreparably change the landscape?
  • Would the area marked "my house" be livable, assuming it's self-sufficient or able to access a nearby town?
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  • $\begingroup$ How small is small? There's no real way to tell scale. A dot on the map is not the size of an object, it's just a marker. What are we talking about in square miles? $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Aug 14 '16 at 19:27
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I see a problem having a mesa that close to a volcano. Dropping a volcano requirement, take a look at Santa Marta, Columbia. It is not clear at the satellite view, but the area right East (and in the rain shadow of) Santa Marta mountain is a Guajira desert.

Totally natural, and AFAIK perfectly stable for at least few millennia.

And yes, I'd love to have my house there.

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I'm not so sure about how such an area could come into existence. But I can offer my thoughts regarding its stability.

Being on a flat plain among rivers and deltas, with hills on one side and mountains on the other side, I can see what would be worrying me. Water!

I'm going to assume since there is a desert to the west and a forest to the south that the whole area is low on rainfall, it's rare to see rainfall change so drastically in a small area so the existence of the forest must be explained by water, either from a strong tide or the melting of the glacier. In either case, the water has only two places to go, the forest, and the plains where your house is.

I strongly recommend gathering some wood and either building a tree house or a boat, and best make it quick! I don't like the ominous stare of that nearby volcano, it's obviously not erupted in a while, otherwise the forest would have been badly damaged, and it looks pretty active, so is probably due a big one soon!

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