Here’s the second draft of the “desert world” map:
The features are a little small, but I think you can make them out. This is the previous map, but edited – I remove the climate / terrain types again and added locations of ancient and modern cities, and I placed the global canal network (the black lines).
I am also playing a lot with “shadows” to make the map easier to read, and I think it came out pretty well if I may say so myself.
Here’s a first glance at Arnâron, the desert planet.
Pretty much all of the once world-spanning ocean has dried up. There are small ice caps at both poles. They will vary greatly over the course of the year. In the local winter they will expand towards the equator to cover most of the zones marked Taiga and Tundra.
The surface of the world is mostly covered in rock and sand – much of it is former ocean floor. In locations with water, sparse vegetation and steppes thrive. The former western continent features the only thick vegeatation on the planet, along a wide river that runs off from the vast mountain range that covers the continent.
A vast salt flat is located in the northern hemisphere, between the two continents. This is the most hostile area on the planet – the absolute lack of liquid water and the searing temperatures mean that nothing can survive here.
The map shows Arnâron without the influences of man… which will be our next map, coming up sometime this weekend.
Humans evolved in the region marked by the big black circle on the eastern of the two main continents. From there, they began to spread out in all directions, first to the more fertile climates, then into arid areas as well. The whole process took about fifty thousand years. The islands in the north of the ocean at the center of the map were among the last spots of land that mankind spread to. Very few islands were missed by humans in pre-historic time.
Alright, here’s the first draft of my climate zones for Arnâron. I am not sure if this is entirely realist – consider it a “first guess”. I’ve made this map a little bigger… I hope you can tell what is what – I am having trouble with the colors (I am colorblind – not completely, but enough to give me serious problems when it comes to differentiating colors…)
I may revisit this. Either way I am now getting really close to populating the world with what truly matters: People.
Okay, this one was a tough one, and I am not sure how realistic the result is. Nils presents: The prevailing winds of Arnâron! Red circles are high pressure areas, blue circles are low pressure ares; the thin black arrows are prevailing winds. The thick black line is the intertropical convergence zone.
These maps are based on the general idea that the north is colder during the “beginning of the year”, aka “January”, while the south is warmed in the “middle of the year” aka “July”. I also used the ocean currents as a basis of where to place high / low pressure areas.
The ITCZ should probably extend far to the north in the middle of the year (lower map).
Looks confusing? Yes, to me too. But it’s giving me some ideas for climate zones already; for example I think the eastern half of the south-eastern landmass may be a desert, as its coastal mountain ranges will likely shield it from rain in the “beginning of the year” phase (“January”), and the wind will go the other way in the “July” phase. The southern half of the western continent is probably desert, too.
It is also worthy to note that seasonal changes will in general be more gentle than on Earth, because the year is much longer.
Laying down climate zones is the next logical step, too. Once I am done with that, I’ll be able to determine where people originated, where civilizations rose, and where humans stagnated. This is also where we join the Shakespeare & Dragons podcast again.
More maps = good. This time: Stirring up the oceans!
I should probably note that oceans on Arnâron were never as deep as on Earth. I figure maybe a kilometer or so at the deepest.
Wind patterns should be fairly easy and somewhat less static than ocean currents. Nevertheless, I’ll put wind patterns off until tonight or so, and then I’ll finally be able to determine what location will have what climate.
And you know what’s the kicker? This is still ancient Arnâron. Soon, the oceans will dry up, the wind will change, and climate will be radically different. I’m creating this water-rich, pleasant garden world just to destroy it.
Here’s the third draft of my map. I fixed the issue with the Northern Plate I noticed while I was posting the second draft. I think I am quite happy with it now.
Using the above, I’ve marked the major zones of volcanism on the following map. I am not quite sure yet whether or not the divergent zone between the Eastern Plate and the Northern Plate would have major volcanism, my current understanding is that it doesn’t. Man, geography class covered this sort of thing… but high school was sixteen years ago…
Of course the details of this map may change depending on the needs of further developments – we’ll see.
I worked a little more on the basic map. Here’s the result:
As you can see, I rearranged the plates a little, and the map is more detailed now. Light blue is continental shelf. Dark blue are trenches. The brown spots are mountainous areas. The names of the plates are quite arbitrary, I could have just as well numbered them.
Basically, there’s one major divergent plate boundary, between the Northern Plate and the Eastern Plate. It’s the most active zone on Arnâron, especially the south, where the New Plate is being born from violent volcanism. The Western Plate is being pushed up on both its western as well as eastern convergent boundaries. The Western Plate is the most stable of the plates of Arnâron, and has a good chance to stay in place for a long time, until dynamics of the planetary interior change.
I’ll actually have to change the graphic again – as I write this, I notice that the Northern Plate should be pushing northwards as well as eastwards, and this in turn should be what’s pushing the Polar Plate southwards.
This is a fairly simplified picture of plate tectonics, but it should suffice for my purposes.
Here’s my first attempt at a map of Arnâron. It depicts the time when oceans still covered its surface. No climate zones or mountain ranges have been placed – this is very much a work in progress, but I figured I’d share it to document the progress. Besides… we need more graphics on this blog. 😉