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Questions tagged [tectonics]

For questions about the tectonics of your fictional world, such as about how mountains are created or how plates would be affected by changes to the Earth's mass.

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73 votes
17 answers
12k views

How could a natural road form across a sea?

BACKGROUND I'd like my earth-like world to have a naturally formed narrow strip of land that bridges a major sea. Now, before anyone rushes off to comment about island chains and land bridges, I'll ...
Random's user avatar
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28 votes
5 answers
9k views

What would Earth's Land look like in the year 3000? would there be any significant changes at all in 1000 years?

I've tried researching this question myself, but the only data I can find is over huge timescales, like situations where the continents have reformed back into a Neo-Pangea. I'm not looking for any ...
Sydney Sleeper's user avatar
17 votes
6 answers
3k views

Asteroid impact. How big does it have to be to globally affect plate tectonics?

I want to know about the plausibility and required parameters of the following scenario: Take an Earth-like planet, about the same size, composition and gravity. It has no plate tectonics to speak of....
Tonny's user avatar
  • 4,098
16 votes
10 answers
5k views

Suppose dragons spewed volcanic ash instead of fire. How much more deadly would they be?

In my setting I have monsters that breathe elemental clouds/blasts of certain substances, assume them to basically be dragons. Among the largest (and I mean, Godzilla sized) are some that spit hot ...
Quinn's user avatar
  • 1,206
14 votes
9 answers
6k views

How could a planet have zero surface caves?

What could cause a planet to naturally have zero caverns with surface openings apart from small impact hollows in the sides of craters and crevices carved in cliffs? To be specific, zero large ...
Noble's user avatar
  • 1,242
14 votes
7 answers
4k views

Reasons for a very small but very high mountain range in an area with no plate boundaries?

One of the cities in my world, known as Kerkapeze, is situated in a location I just realized I'd have to be very creative to justify: it lies on a narrow plateau between two high but very small ...
The Weasel Sagas's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
857 views

What is a plausible way to maximize the amount of NATIVE silver deposits in a given area?

I have a region on a 'Eurasia' style continent that is surrounded by large mountains. The reason that I came up with was a very dense and volcanically active microplate that was being compressed on ...
Viable_Beret's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
430 views

Would a diamond mountain floating in the mantle cause a supervolcano or lava pool in the crust above it?

I was looking for ways to make gigantic mountains, and found Willk's answer to such a quandary, where a giant diamondberg forms in an ice giant and is incorporated into a terrestrial planet's crust, ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
  • 12.8k
11 votes
6 answers
4k views

Can a continent naturally split into two distant parts within a week?

If a great division occurs, sealing two warring cultures apart for many generations, my only explanation so far is a tectonic shift. I imagine water flooding between a long split. But as I understand ...
Swantonic's user avatar
  • 181
9 votes
3 answers
876 views

Is an offset mountain range plausible?

For my world, I would like a coastal mountain range that partway along its length is offset by a few (say, 100) kilometres, forming a pass through the mountains, like so: (N.B. I've drawn this very ...
walrus's user avatar
  • 3,529
9 votes
1 answer
529 views

Guidance: How to Create Sensible Plate Tectonics

This is a community-wiki question Worldbuilding Stack Exchange regularly hosts questions asking either how to establish plate tectonics based on an existing planetary map or to judge the suitability ...
JBH's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Given a planet map, can plate tectonics be determined?

I have designed a planet's landmasses and now am wondering where the tectonic plates would be. I understand this is backwards to the popular method of tectonics-first, but I wanted to design how the ...
Ylahris's user avatar
  • 487
8 votes
3 answers
273 views

Catastrophic geology

What would happen to an earth-like planet where an event caused a large (think, the size of the Caribbean tectonic plate) section of the crust to get peeled away, exposing the upper mantle for a ...
Lee Carlson's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
900 views

How do I work backwards from a political map to writing out my world's geographic history?

Background: this universe has the same physics as our universe. The planet is the same as Earth. I've drawn out the map of a singular continent and it has all the political modern day boundaries ...
alcyone's user avatar
  • 81
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

If all the iron and nickel in the inner core was transmuted into gold over two weeks

If some kind of insane wizard began a ritual that would turn the inner core of the earth into gold, what would happen? Over the course of 15 days, the entirety of the core will become gold. Each ...
Piomicron's user avatar
  • 2,299
8 votes
1 answer
479 views

How much surface water do I need for plate-tectonics on a planet?

I want to build a habitable desert gas-giant moon and I´m not sure how little water I can give it and still get plate-tectonics instead of an Io-like lid-tectonic setup. I want plate tectonics because ...
TheDyingOfLight's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
495 views

How could an iron planet be geologically active?

So I have an iron planet, and its name is Randall. Since Randall is an iron planet, he is basically the core of a planet with no crust/mantle, and very few silicates. Now, I, the creator outside of ...
KaffeeByte's user avatar
  • 1,702
7 votes
7 answers
1k views

A world without mountains

I'm relatively new to all this. I'm thinking of studying a little Earth sciences in the hope that it tells me but, up front, I want to know if I'm completely off. I want to know if a world with no ...
Jeremy Hunter's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
762 views

Is it possible to have a several hundred mile long sea joining two oceans that's similar in width to the English Channel?

I've got two landmasses that are each situated on either side of a 20-50 mile wide sea (with the width varying along its length) where the sea runs for several hundred miles before opening out into ...
Frederick Wiles's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
138 views

Feasible? A natural geothermal water pump the scale of multiple Mississippi rivers

I want a continent of waterfalls: a place on the scale of South America where the land is broken terraces from mountain heights to sea level. And I want massive waterfalls to be ubiquitous, like ...
SRM's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
580 views

Could a planet have ocean basins if it did not have an ocean?

If a planet, lets call her Shiloh, had no oceans or liquid water on the surface; Could it still have deep, vast ocean basins? Or would a dry ocean basin level out over time?
KaffeeByte's user avatar
  • 1,702
6 votes
2 answers
144 views

How might the surface of a tectonically active planet appear without a global ocean?

I hope this is "specific" enough, and sorry I don't really know formatting rules yet. I'm trying to build a habitable desert super-Earth, where water can only exist seasonally around the ...
Pseudosapient's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
161 views

Would it be possible to have predictable, repeating volcanic eruptions on an inhabited island?

So, suppose we have a very large island. Exactly how big it is doesn't matter too much, but it must be big enough to support a small country. This is a volcanic island, and the volcanoes on this ...
Globin347's user avatar
  • 5,797
6 votes
2 answers
224 views

Would Plate Tectonics Act Differently on an Earth-like Planet Where Water Makes Up the Minority of the Surface Rather Than the Majority?

My apologies for the extra long title, so let's get to the point. There is an Earth-like planet with a very dry personality. Six to ten percent of the surface is water, averaging in at 30-100 meters ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
6 votes
1 answer
623 views

What's wrong (if anything) with the tectonic plates on my fictional planet?

I'm trying to find someone (s) with enough geology knowledge to help me figure out some of the specifics of the world I'm building. (Earth-like in age, distance from star, size, tilt) I'm doing my ...
Josh Foreman's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
359 views

Can a fast planetary rotation create a planet with an equatorial continent, preferably with very high mountains and two polar oceans?

I’m trying to create a planet with two small polar oceans with equatorial supercontinent in the middle. The land is in turn divided in two by high mountains that act as barrier and a source of water ...
Zjerzy's user avatar
  • 616
5 votes
4 answers
497 views

What environmental conditions would result in Crude oil being far easier to access than coal?

So, A bit of a long winded explanation: I am designing a world that is meant to be both nostalgic and alien; A world that is familiar enough at first glance, but has many differences to ours. One ...
Globin347's user avatar
  • 5,797
5 votes
3 answers
561 views

Geyser as drinkable water source in arid climate

My world is a life-bearing moon orbiting a gas giant. There will be plenty of geysers due to gravitational tectonic activity. Is it possible for geysers to happen in the middle of hot and arid biomes? ...
Veknor's user avatar
  • 632
5 votes
1 answer
548 views

Can Someone Help Me Determine Plate Divisions?

I have a world designed called Ser. I want to place tectonic plates so that they can explain how the current landmasses formed. Below shows the 6 major continents of the world. As continents are ...
overlord's user avatar
  • 6,282
5 votes
2 answers
335 views

Thousand Plate World: Formation

I have found this idea on a discussion on /r/worldbuilding. Anyway, the premise is as follows: The planet is earth-like in terms of size and mass. The planet has a very large amount of small, active, ...
MedwedianPresident's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
260 views

Would a geologically ancient world be habitable?

Assuming an earth-like planet, but with several billion more years of cooling and settling (and with no moon to create tides). I'm imagining this planet would be geographically and tectonically ...
Evan Dicken's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
194 views

For my alternate earth, what could cause the position of the axis to change?

Long ago, when the dinosaurs roamed the world, something happened.... In this alternate universe, something happens that shifts the axis of the Earth from its original position during the Mesozoic Era ...
4.12.22.4.18.0.'s user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
376 views

Starting with a map of current landforms, how can I write the geographic history of my planet?

The current worldbuilding project I have is going to be detailed - very detailed. It's about the life of an alien planet called Nemo 4, and I want to chronicle the evolutionary history of that life, ...
SealBoi's user avatar
  • 14.9k
5 votes
2 answers
416 views

If you hypothetically drained the ocean, would the crust remain thick enough to have violent volcanic activity?

Suppose you drained the ocean without any repercussions caused by the transport and allocation of that much water. Looking at land like the ring of fire or deep sea thermal sites, would the crust ...
Quinn's user avatar
  • 1,206
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Where should I place mountains and deserts in this generated map?

Thanks for all the comments and I've re-edited the question: All nature settings(radius of planet, etc) are similar to the real world earth except the continent layout. I used Mogensen Planet ...
J.Y.'s user avatar
  • 53
5 votes
2 answers
475 views

How Would Plate Tectonics on an Inverted World Work?

Recently, I came across an inverted world map on the MapPorn Reddit made by MChainsaw. "Inverted" as in, the "continents" are now below sea level and the "ocean floors" are high and dry. (...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
  • 14.5k
5 votes
1 answer
172 views

What effect would a perpetual cold zone in the tropics have on the global climate?

In my fantasy world, there is a peninsula around the size of mexico almost entirely surrounded by mountains about the size of the himalayas which go directly into the ocean. How they got there is ...
Photino's user avatar
  • 103
5 votes
1 answer
639 views

What are the best books on geology and plate tectonics for worldbuilders?

I am trying to achieve the best possible accuracy for new planets, for determining landmasses and continents and then gravity, axial tilts, day length, tides, seasons and so, without going too deep ...
Guilherme Nunes's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
316 views

What needs to be changed about the plate tectonics of my world?

So, after trying to make a few different world maps and not really feeling satisfied with them, I decided to attempt making a world a bit more from scratch, by adding in plate tectonics. Now, I did ...
devendoo's user avatar
  • 113
4 votes
5 answers
501 views

How do I explain volcanos and plate tectonics on a hollow world?

The world my setting takes place on is an artificial shell world set into the FAR future (somewhere between several hundred million and nearly a billion years) after a cataclysmic event wiped out it's ...
icewar1908's user avatar
  • 6,885
4 votes
3 answers
586 views

Could an island on Earth with these climate types exist?

I am creating an RPG and I created a continent in which it is set on. I want to make sure that the climate types in it are realistic as well as the continent. This island is called Lartess. Lartess ...
Galactic's user avatar
  • 4,464
4 votes
3 answers
468 views

Is it possible for a tectonic plate to be separating from all the plates around it?

So here's the picture, an island about the size of Sicily is on its own tectonic plate, it borders three other tectonic plates, it's separating from all of them at the exact same time. This is a ...
skout's user avatar
  • 2,068
4 votes
2 answers
539 views

Mountain ranges and tectonic plates -- how can I make my world map more plausible?

This is the first world map I’ve ever made. I tried a smaller one a while ago, but now I’m attempting a map of a full planet. As always, this world is Earth-like, etc. I also have yet to finish it, ...
villain_l's user avatar
  • 227
4 votes
2 answers
450 views

Where should my tectonic plates be?

This is my map: It was generated using tectonics.js, and I traced it in GIMP. For a while now, I've been having trouble pinning down just where exactly my tectonic plates should be. I tried sketching ...
Aisede's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
3 answers
471 views

Reasonable placement of tectonic plates

Im working on this little hobby project and i've come to the stage where i want an actual world map. So id decided to use one of the mapgens out there untill i found one i was happy with: Now i have ...
Gixen's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
1 answer
109 views

UHT Ceramic Geology

Earth rocks are largely silicates, combinations of silicon, oxygen, and various other trace elements. What would a planets geography look like if the crust was primarily composed of ceramics like ...
Aezyc's user avatar
  • 1,778
4 votes
3 answers
221 views

A continent sized land formation on a water planet with impassable mountains all around the edges and a salty sea in the middle

In order for the plot and character development I have planned to work the people need to be living on an island continent about 200,000km (England/New Zealand/Japan size, but oval/round shaped) with ...
jedielfqueen's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
215 views

The “rock cycle” of an Alderson Disk

In my world, human civilization would live on an Alderson Disk. An Alderson disk (named after Dan Alderson, its originator) is a hypothetical artificial astronomical megastructure, like Larry Niven's ...
Cubelite's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
300 views

How many tectonic plates should my moon have?

I have been wondering, what factors influence the number of tectonic plates a planet would have? Are there criteria to choose the number? Case in point, for my habitable moon project, here is the ...
JuimyTheHyena's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
263 views

How would different factors increase the speed of tectonic plate movement

The movement of the tectonic plates in the Earth's crust is quite a small amount, at only a few centimetres a year. How fast could the movements of a tectonic plate get up to if an earth-like planet: ...
P C I A's user avatar
  • 71