Continuing on from last week’s tutorial on Tectonic plates we’re looking at how the plates affect the landscape of your world and so the environment your characters will see and experience.
If you’re following the tutorial and drawing your own map then you will have the main islands drawn along with the tectonic plates of your world and the directions that they move. As a reminder here are the 3 different movements of a tectonic plates and what they do to the landscape around them.
1 Side to Side
The movement of two plates running next to each other causes earthquakes
2 Moving Away
These plates will cause a continental rift (as shown on the far right of the diagram above)
3 Moving Towards
Plates that move towards each other cause mountain ranges to spring up and quite often volcanic activity.
Drawing Mountains On Your Map
So as you can see from the image below I’ve drawn a mountain range over the large island where its two tectonic plates were pushing together. (You can view the tectonic plate diagram here)
[info]Note: at this point in drawing my maps I use simple icons to roughly layout how I want things to look. If it’s a line drawing then I will go back later and improve the line art used or more likely I will be using this map as a template when painting in Photoshop.[/info]
On the map above you can also see where I have drawn extra mini islands. These islands follow along the path of tectonic plates that are pushing together. Some of these may be simply sea bed mountain ranges that are poking through the surface of the sea. However, I imagine that many of them (certainly the larger islands) will be volcanic islands – plus I like the idea of volcanic islands dotted around my map.
These islands are created when you have a volcanic eruption out at sea; the larva cools and builds up over time until eventually it pokes out of the sea. This island will then continue to grow with each subsequent eruption.
Volcanic Islands make for great stories. Our world is full of myths, legends and other tales about volcanic islands such as Atlantis and The Mysterious Island. The volcanic soil allows a fertile region to grow yet there is always the impending doom of a volcano that could erupt at any moment.
Plates that move away from each other on land create deep fissures and when they are in the sea they create the deep dark trenches that writers love to use to hide their sea monsters.
On my map I plan on using the trenches mainly as deep crevices for exploration.
What about your world?
Does your world have any volcanic islands and if so what do you plan to build on these islands?