Build a world starting with tectonic plates

Discussion in 'Alternate History Maps and Graphics' started by Eh9198, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Eh9198 Active Member

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    No ability to create the wonderful maps you guys do, but I figured it would be fun to build a world together this time starting with a map of tectonic plates. Someone can draw a map of the plates, whereupon land masses could form, which would dictate the weather, rise of nations and the cultures that inhabit them. I’d love to sit back and watch what you come up with!
     
  2. Eh9198 Active Member

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    Bump? Can provide additional info if needed.
     
  3. AgarBoy1 Cannot be milked Banned

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    Alright. I'm gonna do a small draw-up now, if needed we could expand later. I'm going to do Micro-Worlda size for now.
     
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  4. AgarBoy1 Cannot be milked Banned

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    How's this?
    rivers.png
     
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  5. Thanosaekk Well-Known Member

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    I am interested, and I might even try to make a tectonic plates map. Also, two suggestions: firstly, perhaps we should start by figuring out things like the planet's solar system and its size, if that could be useful? Also, Artifexian's videos will be a perfect source for this...
     
  6. AgarBoy1 Cannot be milked Banned

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    That's a good idea, maybe we can go planet by planet.
     
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  7. AgarBoy1 Cannot be milked Banned

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    Here's my suggestion for planet 1:
    Vulcan, slightly larger that mercury, but so close to the sun that it is molten.
     
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  8. AgarBoy1 Cannot be milked Banned

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    Like this:
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Eh9198 Active Member

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    I like it! Would fleshing out the other planets have an effect on the tectonic world in question, in terms of size, mineral makeup and moons, etc?
     
  10. AgarBoy1 Cannot be milked Banned

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    Moons would alter tectonics (and tides obviously) slightly, but not enough to be continent destroying.
     
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  11. Fox-Fire I've jumped into the fire.

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    On the other hand, one thing that might be considerable is the presence of a large planet in the system. Why? It can and often does redirect the comets and asteroids that can harm the biosphere of the world we are building.

    However, as much as I like running calculations and imagining different kinds of scenarios, I would say that we shouldn’t deviate too much from Earth in this little project because that makes most of the non-specialized knowledge on biospheres and such obsolete or lacking. On the other hand, there is the possibility of having more than one planet in our system that is described deeply enough to have tectonic plates and such. To this we must also remember that stars create a habitable zone around them, which can include several planets and their orbits.

    If someone really wants to go with something like ammonia or methane-based life, I’d say that it would be better to have it in a separate planet than on this particular world.

    Now, back to the system in question, I would argue for a small star at it centre even though the giants might seem more tempting. Why? Because giant stars use their lighter elements for fusion faster in proportion to a smaller star and while I would like to discuss stellar physics, I don’t feel this is the place for that. Just know that stars behave like onions in their fusion of elements, with each deeper layer (closer to their core) fusing heavier elements until they reach iron (Fe)… Then iron fusion requires energy instead of freeing it as result of the nuclear reaction. The point in which a star starts fusing iron is their death sentence and most of the smaller stars aren’t able to fusion iron until very late in their lives or at all.

    Now, if you want a compromise, I would argue for a multiple star system with a yellow or red dwarf and a white dwarf at its centre. A white dwarf is a completely different type of star that is born out of the death of a much larger one and basically is almost incomprehensibly dense but very small. All in all, this means a lot of gravity that can behave like a larger star (for example, planets with larger orbits and extremely long years) but the luminosity of the prevailing star would be the one creating the habitability zone.

    Now, if we wish to get more special with the system, we could add another small star in a far transneptunian orbit. Now, if you wish to get more special with the shape of the system, there are things like Nu Scorpii:

    [​IMG]

    Yep, those are seven stars and it looks like a museum piece, but even then, some of those stars can harbour life on their planets. There are so many stars out there that whatever we make within reason likely has happened several times.

    Back to the planet itself: if we want to create something slightly different from Earth, there are always consequences. For example, a planet with a more tilted axis would need to have oceans and continents distributed more evenly even if their proportion is similar to Earth, so as not to have such an extreme climate. A lack of large oceans means less thermal regulation and the presence of very large ones creates super-storms. This is obviously between certain parameters. No amount of ocean and continent displacement can make a planet tilted like Uranus have a climate like Earth though.

    On my ideas, I would say that the map posted previously about the tectonics of the planet can be useful, but we need to improve it since it lacks the smaller plates that are present on many places on Earth and create some of the most important geographical accidents. Plus, more plates means more islands and I like the worlds I design or help on creating having a large number archipelagos.

    Finally, please don’t start to work on the finer details of the coastlines right away, that will be losing time since that work will likely have to be retconned many times before the final product is ready. There are many things that define the shape of a coastline and they simply cannot be created and justified straightaway. Just go from the broader details to the smaller ones. I know it is a costly process in terms of time, but I assure you that many of the people would prefer to have their work be useful even if partially than having on something worked for nothing. And before you all say it, yes, this is the reason most of the projects of this kind get abandoned together with the creation of the preclassic period of civilization. I know, I have started several of these projects.
     
  12. Eh9198 Active Member

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    I tend to agree with your assessment of an earth-like planet, because what I hope to extrapolate from the tectonics, after continents, biomes, and weather systems are formed, are the cultures that would develop in different parts of this world. To do that, it seems, we would need to keep close to the human analogue.
     
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  13. Thanosaekk Well-Known Member

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  14. Fox-Fire I've jumped into the fire.

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    I modified a little bit the map presented earlier and added the difference between oceanic and continental plates:

    Worldbuilding II.png

    Next we can start drawing the continents and islands, though I wish to wait until I have your approval for this map.
     
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  15. Thanosaekk Well-Known Member

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    I support such a configuration, although I can't understand what the plate to the bottom left is: is it a different plate, or the same as the one to the bottom right?
     
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  16. Fox-Fire I've jumped into the fire.

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    Corrected.

    Worldbuilding II.png

    These are just continental shelves, not the continents proper. Do you mind if I start drawing them? @Eh9198 , @AgarBoy1 , @Thanosaekk
     
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  17. Thanosaekk Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest, instead of drawing them all at once, we could make some choices about how it will look and go step-by-step.
    Also, here's a map with numbers for the plates (to make things a bit easier) and the borders that wrap around the planet fixed so that they connect properly:
    Plates.png
     
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  18. Eh9198 Active Member

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    Looks and sounds good to me. Let’s get to making a planet!
     
  19. Fox-Fire I've jumped into the fire.

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    Some thoughts before starting:

    I believe that the 3-11-1-13-7-8-9 complex shouldn't be a single landmass, or we would be facing the risk of making a gigantic desert as the primary biome of the continent, which would be pretty boring. Instead, I suggest several interruptions in the continent in the same manner that the Bering Strait exists in a meeting point between two continental plates.

    In the same vein, I suggest not having the 1-6 as a solid connection but as something like the Drake Passage between the South American plate and the Antarctic plate. This is to have an uninterrupted current flowing around the planet, which, while causing great storms, also moderates the climates around itself.

    On the other hand, I have two minds on the subject of the connection between 7-8. One idea is having 8 as a large Indonesia analogue and the other is having it as something similar to Europe. There are no direct analogues to Earth though, for which I’m grateful, and so there will be no direct Europe analogues no matter what we do.

    For 1-13-7 there is to consider that we likely have a mixture of the phenomenology of Chile and the Himalayas, which will result in gigantic mountain ranges, likely in the shape of an inverted “Y” surrounding 13. This will create a tremendous amount of rain shadow on either 1 or 7, depending on the direction our planet rotates. A way of countering this is having either (or both) 1 or 7 as part ocean. Remember that they are continental shelves, not solid landmasses.

    Taking this aforementioned fact into account, I suggest not having 3 and 1 following their direct border as landmasses. Too boring and likely creating only great deserts, which is doubly boring.

    Back to the fact that there are no direct Earth analogues, there likely won’t be a continent in splendid isolation, so no Australia analogue in other words. If we wanted something close to it, though, we could have the main landmass of 9 being separated from 7 and 1.

    On the oceans and islands, 4-5 and 14-2 borders would likely spawn island chains much like the Aleutians. To that we could also add 12-14 which, while not as likely, could also do so.
     
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  20. AgarBoy1 Cannot be milked Banned

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    YEAH!