Mountains and Plains
Chapter Two: The Geology of Shalimar
Like the other planets in Heynar's system, Shalimar was formed from a cooling cloud of swirling interstellar gas. As the gas cooled it took on solid form, and gravity gathered and pulled the bits and pieces together. As the planets became more massive, they heated up because of gravitational pressure and radioactivity, allowing some portion of the heavier elements to migrate towards the center of the molten sphere. Lighter elements and compounds to rose to the surface. Eventually, on the rocky planets, the crust cooled, though the planet's internal heat continued to force molten material to the surface through volcanoes and rifts.
During this entire period all of the planets and moons were subjected to bombardment by other bodies that were also part of the new solar system. These bodies varied in size from dust motes to the size of other planets. It is thought that one of these impacts resulted in the formation of Kona, Shalimar's moon. Shalimar eventually cooled, allowing water to condense in the atmosphere and fall as rain. The bombardments, however, continue to this day, and craters of all sizes are still prominent features of Shalimar's landscape.
Shalimar has four large continents. The largest continent lies on both sides of the equator, and a smaller one is also in the equatorial region. A large continent lies far to the north, and a smaller one is in the southern hemisphere. Shalimar also has several large islands which lie in shallow waters and are surrounded by groups of smaller islands and stretches of swamp land.
The map gives a general overview of elevations. Brown represents land between sea level and an elevation of 1000 feet. Green shows 1000 to 2000 feet of elevation above sea level. Yellow indicates 2000 to 3000 feet, while orange shows land above 4000 feet. Blue lines on land represent the major rivers.
The ocean has also been generally mapped. Very pale blue indicates an ocean depth of less than 1000 feet. Much of this ocean area is much shallower. Medium blue indicates between 1000 and 2000 feet in depth, dark blue shows water deeper than 2000 feet.
Although Shalimar today still has volcanoes, especially on the large central continent and in the northernmost land area, the planet has a fairly level surface. Most of the planet is below 1000 feet in elevation, and large portions of the land area are at or near sea level, leading to swamps, bogs, and estuaries. Rivers flow slowly in this gently sloping land, and much of the low-lying area is covered with silt. Much of the ocean is also shallow; large portions of it are not even five hundred feet deep.
© Elizabeth Anne Viau, 1996. This material may be used freely for instructional purposes but not sold for a price beyond the cost of reproduction. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you use this material. I'd be interested to know how it works for you!