Caution: Toxic Levels of Nerdliness

The Plate Tectonics of Middle Earth

I wonder what the effect on plate tectonics was when Middle Earth went from being flat to round and Numenor was plunged into the depths of the sea?

  • James H, London

    I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but the geology and climatology of western Arda always bothered me.

    What the heck is that long, extremely thin mountain range down the middle of it, doing there? If it’s an old range, why is it so spectacular, as if still growing? This map finally makes sense of Mordor, but the earthquakes all over Gondor and Harad must be awful! And why are there no other volcanoes in the Ash or Grey Mountains?

    Finally, and most importantly, there’s just no way the Shire could have such a mild, oceanic climate, that far from the sea! And with all the land Eriador AND the Misty Mtns to the west, there’s no way there could still be enough moisture in the Westerlies to water that monster forest of Mirkwood, I mean come on, guys.

    [Earth Science Geek-out ends]

    • Robert King

      Be not embarrassed! I have only the most amateur knowledge of geology, but the maps of Middle Earth have bugged me since I first read The Hobbit as a child. Had I been properly thoughtful, I might have noted that even genius is limited, and cannot be brilliant about every thing. As it was, I grew angry with Prof. Tolkien for his glaring errors.

    • Rick Aubol

      you assume all weather patterns flow only from the west. perhaps Mirkwood is watered by eastly winds from over the sea of Ruhn

  • Brian

    Lies and base heresy! I’m ashamed of you Mark! Everyone knows that the Misty Mountains, in their terrible splendour, were raised by Melkor in order to hinder the riding forth of Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar. To pass along the unproven theory that this process was done by some sort of random natural event instead of the hostile actions of the Bauglir is unfitting your position…to slight the Dark Lord above and beyond all Dark Lords!

    Of course, I’m assuming that this is all being done duplicitously. If by some chance you actually believe these…Orcish lies…may Eru have mercy on you.

  • Rick Aubol

    All those random mountains did bother me too though, until I read the Silmarillion where the Valar both raise up and hurl down mountains and indeed end up destroying the entire northern part of Middle Earth in the War of Wrath