Does middle earth's map actually make any sense from a geological perspective?
Why is Mordor perfectly boxxed in by those mountains at right angles?
Why isn't that range down the middle casting a rain shadow?
Also map making thread, I guess
>mountains at right angles
Three separate orogenies? Doesn't make sense when considered with the misty mountain range, and honestly if they misty mountains had forked to make a massive triangle where morder sat, I'd be happy
Middle Earth, and most fantasy maps in general, are horribly geologically inaccurate because they ignore things like plate tectonics, the hydrologic cycle, fluid dynamics, weathering and erosion, and much more. There are just as many meteorological and ecological problems with most fantasy lands and terrain, in addition to their geology.
The thing is, part of fantasy is not being held to the whims of science. Most of the really cool environmental set pieces you see in television, movies, videogames, and roleplaying sourcebooks aren't naturally possible, but that is part of why they look awesome and beautiful.
People seem to forget 'a wizard did it' actually applies in Fantasy world building and that real life science is not assumed. Look at all the people who actually think Elves and Humans are the same 'species' because they can interbreed.
While there are some actual mountain chains that do a pretty extreme bend, the "boxed" shape of Morder doesn't really make any geologicla sense. Plus the map does the classic mortal sin of bad mapmaking, making a river flow through a mountain (rivers generally flow downhill; mountains by definition are taller than the surrounding terrain). Stritcly speaking that's not impossible if the river was there first, but I doubt most fantasy mapmakert think of that.
Where is a river going through a mountain? Most of those rivers seem pretty sensible by fantasy map standards.
Unless you mean the underground ones.
A boxed shape like that is actually possible to achieve naturally; a smaller-scale example of this is Lake Elsinore.
Looked at from the sky, Lake Elsinore looks to be completely box-shaped on three sides and entirely artificial, but in actual fact it is a naturally formed lake. That region was formed by micro-fault lines branching off from the San Andreas combined with the tearing apart of the North American plate. Basically, the Pacific plate is subducting underneath the Fillipino and Australian plate at a faster rate than the North American plate is expanding. This is causing the North American plate to pull apart, opening up old micro-faults, and the ground between these faults is dropping in altitude. Death Valley, and the hilly 'peaks and valleys' region between the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Rocky Mountains are typical of what happens when a plate is pulled apart in such a manner. Lake Elsinore just happened to fill up with water when the ground subsided, creating that unnatural-looking box shape.
While this is definitely a thing that can happen on a smaller scale, such a thing is probably impossible on a large scale like Mordor due to how long-term weathering works. Plus, the geology around Mordor is entirely incorrect to support a situation similar to Lake Elsinore.
I think he means Emyn Muil (the place where Rauros falls are and the again Lossarnach and the Valley near Osgiliath, both on Anduin river. Except there is nothing really wrong with those - rivers flowing through deep valleys through highlands are not uncommon (see, I don't know, Elbe on the northern border of Czech republic).
The "boxed in Mordor" is about the only thing that stands out as being rather jarring on the map. It's not like regions surrounded by mountains on all sides don't happen (again, geography of Czech Republic could be a nice lead there), but on the map it all just seem a little too symmetrical and artificial.
But then again, and this is something really importnat:
THE WORLD OF ARDA HAS NOT BEEN FORMED BY GEOLOGICAL PROCESSES!
Asking whenever the land makes geological sense is like asking whenever the emergence of Elves and Humans makes sense from an evolutionary perspective: no, it does not, because Elves and Humans were not formed through evolution, and Middle Earth was not formed through tectonic processes.
There is a canyon somewhere in the Andes that is over 2 miles deep which would be a nice visual for a fantasy game.
>What's up with everyone's boner for plate tectonics lately?
It's actually an old fascination among map-makers and world builders. It's partially just something people can wave their knowledge about and feel smug about themselves, but it would be a mistake to dismiss it as that only.
Here is the thing:
Even if you are making a fantasy map of a world that simply does not take tectonics into consideration (such as Middle Earth, for an example), you still want your map to look natural. Verisimilitude is a powerful thing, even when it's not justified by the lore. Some maps simply look weird, jarring, distracting and misconcieved.
Considering tectonics in your map making does not necessarily have to say "tectonics are a thing in my world", but it may be simply "I want to make the map look natural and believable. Much like having your rivers flow correctly from highlands towards the coasts, having a natual looking coastal line.
TLDR: people care about tectonics because consideration of tectonics makes their maps look better.
Dude, there are so, SO many places in the world that would be a nice background for a fantasy game. I've learned this in fantasy landscape art and "real world locations that would make for good fantasy settings" threads.
The real world locations almost always look more interesting and fantastic than anything any fantasy landscape artist can imagine.
The Panjin Red Beach and Kukunor in China, The Table Mountain or the Andes salt lakes in South America, the entirety of Caucasus, the Great Rift Valley (which is what you were refering to)... Real world is the best fantasy setting you can ever concieve.
>Morder was made as a fortress for the fallen demi god.
Exactly. Sauron is a well known OCD sufferer, got really anal about the mountains not lining up at perfect 90 degree angles so Morgoth had to sort them out to stop his bitching. This stuff is all in the Silm if people would just read before they ask questions like this, sheesh.
Nice, a thread focusing on bitching about realism.
What do you think of this one? Later on in the plot there´ll be a massive natural catastrophe. I need it to be more or less realistic so I can follow up nicely with the consequences. Who drowns, who has his cities destroyed by earthquakes or a volcano, etc.
Still need to specify biomes and settle the people.
Wrong image, this is the up to date.
>Does middle earth's map actually make any sense from a geological perspective?
No, and tolkien said so himself.
In fcat, in one of his letters, he comments about it, saying something along the lines of "I probably should have talked to some of the geologists"
(I cant remember the exact quote, and I'd have to go through a 800-page book to find it, so I'm paraphrasing)