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The geology of Northern Elsweyr is incompatible with TES Lore

RaddlemanNumber7
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TL;DR Elsweyr has a designed-in sequence of realistic rock strata that must have taken millions of years to form. The TES Lore timeline from the creation of Nirn onwards spans only a few thousand years. I think the Devs have some explaining to do.

Elsweyr has visible geology. This is by design. The web article "Discover Elsweyr & the Khajiit that Live There" says:

https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-gb/news/post/56101
When coming up with Elsweyr’s environment, the team drew inspiration from multiple real-world sources....
Even when designing the new zone’s rocky environments such as the Scar, a giant canyon that cuts through the heart of the map, the team looked to the world around them for inspiration and direction.

“We researched different types of faults, including the kind of rocks they would generate, and investigated what the actual stratification of the rocks would be throughout the whole zone. In The Elder Scrolls Online, there’s a reason for everything. We never just come up with something; we look for the reasons why something is here to ensure it’s appropriate for the biome and has a real-world analogue.

There’s always a logic to the way things are in Tamriel, grounding it in reality. Because of this attention to detail, it provides unique challenges for ESO’s designers, who are tasked with crafting the environments in a way that is visually appealing, realistic, and fun to play.

I think the Devs got too realistic this time. Way, way too realistic. They seem to have forgotten that geology is not just a bunch of rocks, it's a process.

When I look at the landscape of Elsweyr I see that the lowest stratum is a solid, undifferentiated block of sandstone-like rock. This base stratum has many weathered buttes and rock pinnacles sticking up from its surface:

1pOTF4T.jpg

IRL geologists call pinnacles like these "yardangs". The Wikipedia article on yardangs says, "A yardang is a streamlined protuberance carved from bedrock or any consolidated or semiconsolidated material by the dual action of wind abrasion by dust and sand, and deflation which is the removal of loose material by wind turbulence."

The buttes and the yardangs are evidence of a very long and slow process of wind erosion.

In some places in Elsweyr there are also beds of sedimentary rock. These are quite deep:

OvuuaTI.jpg

It can be seen that the sedimentary strata overlay the wind-eroded base stratum, filling in the spaces between the buttes and yardangs. This creates an unconformity. Wikipeida says - "An unconformity is a buried erosional or non-depositional surface separating two rock masses or strata of different ages, indicating that sediment deposition was not continuous. In general, the older layer was exposed to erosion for an interval of time before deposition of the younger."

This is all evidence of a geological process. The base layer of rock was exposed to wind erosion for long enough to allow the formation of the buttes and yardangs. Then the whole landscape must have been sunk beneath water for long enough to allow for the deposition of the sedimentary strata that fill the gaps between the buttes and yardangs. Long enough for those sediment layers to be changed into solid rock strata. The land surface must then have been lifted above the waves once more. A further time period must then have elapsed, long enough for a vast amount of the sedimentary strata to be eroded away, to form the landscape we can now see in Elsweyr.

wsnORy8.jpg

Notice how far down the sedimentary rock strata have been eroded away to expose the base stratum's buttes and yardangs once again.

On planet Earth this geological process would take millions of years to happen. How can these millions of years of realistic geological processes be reconciled with the TES Lore time line? According to TES Lore there may have been as little as 6000 years between the creation of Nirn and the time of ESO.

I'd like to see how the Devs are going talk their way out of this one. I'm sure it would make a fascinating addition to TES Lore. Are we supposed to believe that a few thousand years ago the Earth Bones created Nirn in such a way that it was already many millions of years old? Hmmm, I seem to remember hearing that argument somewhere before.

Anyone got any better ideas to help us all resolve this lorific conundrum?
PC EU
  • RaddlemanNumber7
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    Enokariel wrote: »
    Well in fact we do not know how long the dawn era lasted. Even before the gods time had no meening so the processes could last the required amount of time.

    Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition/All the Eras of Man
    History, of course, begins with creation. Sadly, all the objectivity and solid evidence we require of other events in our records must be dismissed at this early point. Within each province, each culture, each religion, each family there exists a different understanding of how this world came to be. It defines us, this belief in where we came from, and the Imperial Geographic Society prefers to leave that to you, gentle reader.

    That said, one persistent story that is accepted by many cultures is that as the world congealed into reality, the Gods made a great tower to discuss how best to proceed with the making of Mundus. The physical, temporal, spiritual, and magical elements of Nirn were set at this Convention, and the tower itself remained behind even as some of the Gods disappeared into Aetherius. Today it is the Adamantine Tower on the little island of Balfiera between High Rock and Hammerfell in the Iliac Bay. That such a humanoid structure remains the sole footprint of the Aedra speaks perhaps of the essentially mortal nature of our world.

    The Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition/High Rock dates the construction of the Adamantine Tower at ME2500, the beginning of the Merethic Era.

    To me, taking these geological processes back into the Dawn Era, before the construction of the Adamantine Tower, before the physical, temporal, spiritual, and magical elements of Nirn were even set, looks awfully like saying that the Divines created Nirn in such a way that it was already millions of years old. How can coherent geological processes occur anyway if the physical and temporal elements of Nirn are not set. I don't see this as a possible solution to the problem.


    Edit: Almost forgot. Lore says there no rain before Lorkhan is dismembered. Rain water is a vital part of moving the sediment around.
    Edited by RaddlemanNumber7 on May 14, 2019 9:01PM
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  • NordSwordnBoard
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    Nirn has two moons and no tides, suspend your disbelief? There is evidence in some docks of high-water marks from barnacles and algae, but the water is always the same level. Just hand wave this away with Gods, magic, etc. etc.

    edit: Time travel - don't forget this deus ex machina.
    Edited by NordSwordnBoard on May 14, 2019 8:05PM
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  • idk
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    NeroBad wrote: »
    So children are absent, outlaws outnumbers lawful residents hundreds of times. Nearly all base zone is surrounded by mountains, and common wood structures survives a thousand year. You can nitpicking a whole lot of things, but the zone is visually stunning and I prefer these kind of rock textures/models to the old bland textures/models a thousand times.

    Altough these kind of layouts on Earth needs millions of years, Nirn was made by magical forces what we don't understand that much till these day (probably never will and should), so to stress real life geology that much on the game visuals is wrong in my opinion

    This and pretty sure Zos is not changing the design of the Zone within the next week.
    Really, idk
  • karthrag_inak
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    On planet Earth this geological process would take millions of years to happen. How can these millions of years of realistic geological processes be reconciled with the TES Lore time line? According to TES Lore there may have been as little as 6000 years between the creation of Nirn and the time of ESO.

    Magical processes do not replace natural ones, they accelerate them. -shrug- that wasn't that hard. :)
  • RaddlemanNumber7
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    TL;DR Elsweyr has a designed-in sequence of realistic rock strata that must have taken millions of years to form. The TES Lore timeline from the creation of Nirn onwards spans only a few thousand years.

    Enough said. Aren't you believing the Bible strongly about the birth of the real world, then looking at geological proofs and getting stunned?
    Same process here, but in-universe. ;)

    P.S.: I already love these land textures and details!

    I wasn't going to mention the Bible, but since you already have, I thought it was amusingly ironic that the Devs had mistakenly put evidence of millions of years of evolving landscape into a world that was unquestionably divinely created a few thousand years in past.
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  • RaddlemanNumber7
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    Burgererer wrote: »
    Whats the point of this thread? To make OP feel smarter than everyone else? Or are they asking for some kind of change? Also "too realistic this time"? Is the magic, dragons, and cat people too realistic as well?

    I made the post mainly to point out what an amusing error the devs had made. But, it is also a complaint. What I'm complaining about is too much planet-Earth-like realism in this fantasy world. I totally accept the reality of magic, dragons and cat people in the TES world.

    I do want a change. I would like the devs to get a firmer grip on the Lore when designing other zones in future. I'm not expecting any changes to be made to Elsweyr or to any other unreleased content that has already been made.
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  • khajiitNPC
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    Geology means little to the amaranth.
  • Elsonso
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    Bruccius wrote: »
    Enokariel wrote: »
    Well in fact we do not know how long the dawn era lasted. Even before the gods time had no meening so the processes could last the required amount of time.

    Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition/All the Eras of Man
    History, of course, begins with creation. Sadly, all the objectivity and solid evidence we require of other events in our records must be dismissed at this early point. Within each province, each culture, each religion, each family there exists a different understanding of how this world came to be. It defines us, this belief in where we came from, and the Imperial Geographic Society prefers to leave that to you, gentle reader.

    That said, one persistent story that is accepted by many cultures is that as the world congealed into reality, the Gods made a great tower to discuss how best to proceed with the making of Mundus. The physical, temporal, spiritual, and magical elements of Nirn were set at this Convention, and the tower itself remained behind even as some of the Gods disappeared into Aetherius. Today it is the Adamantine Tower on the little island of Balfiera between High Rock and Hammerfell in the Iliac Bay. That such a humanoid structure remains the sole footprint of the Aedra speaks perhaps of the essentially mortal nature of our world.

    The Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition/High Rock dates the construction of the Adamantine Tower at ME2500, the beginning of the Merethic Era.

    To me, taking these geological processes back into the Dawn Era, before the construction of the Adamantine Tower, before the physical, temporal, spiritual, and magical elements of Nirn were even set, looks awfully like saying that the Divines created Nirn in such a way that it was already millions of years old. How can coherent geological processes occur anyway if the physical and temporal elements of Nirn are not set. I don't see this as a possible solution to the problem.

    You have to take into account the Unreliable Narrator. Just because people believe something in TES doesn't make it true. The Divinity of the Gods is confirmed, at least for some of them, but that doesn't make everything you read about them valid.

    Trust what you see above what you read. If I wrote a book which said the Sahara is a lush green rainforest, and you go there and it isn't that at all, would you complain about the author, or the climate?

    In this case, the climate! :wink:

  • Korah_Eaglecry
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    There is no contradiction here, in the ES universe gods actually exist and theyre the reason for the world of nirn and the universe of Mundus existing. Unlike our universe being created over time by natural forces.

    As for the timeline. We dont really know how long the Merethic Era spanned as the earliest dated object from that time is ME 2500. Most events arent even properly dated and god knows how far back the ME actually goes seeing as there isnt much to go on as it is. And the Dawn Era has absolutely no timeline as time did not follow a linear path as it does now. Any objects that in our real world would require millions or billions of years to pass could have occurred in ES during that non-linear period. Or being that it was created by actual gods. They could have snapped their fingers and it happened over night. So is the way of things in a universe where gods and endless magic exists.
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  • psychotrip
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    TL;DR Elsweyr has a designed-in sequence of realistic rock strata that must have taken millions of years to form. The TES Lore timeline from the creation of Nirn onwards spans only a few thousand years. I think the Devs have some explaining to do.

    Elsweyr has visible geology. This is by design. The web article "Discover Elsweyr & the Khajiit that Live There" says:

    https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-gb/news/post/56101
    When coming up with Elsweyr’s environment, the team drew inspiration from multiple real-world sources....
    Even when designing the new zone’s rocky environments such as the Scar, a giant canyon that cuts through the heart of the map, the team looked to the world around them for inspiration and direction.

    “We researched different types of faults, including the kind of rocks they would generate, and investigated what the actual stratification of the rocks would be throughout the whole zone. In The Elder Scrolls Online, there’s a reason for everything. We never just come up with something; we look for the reasons why something is here to ensure it’s appropriate for the biome and has a real-world analogue.

    There’s always a logic to the way things are in Tamriel, grounding it in reality. Because of this attention to detail, it provides unique challenges for ESO’s designers, who are tasked with crafting the environments in a way that is visually appealing, realistic, and fun to play.

    I think the Devs got too realistic this time. Way, way too realistic. They seem to have forgotten that geology is not just a bunch of rocks, it's a process.

    When I look at the landscape of Elsweyr I see that the lowest stratum is a solid, undifferentiated block of sandstone-like rock. This base stratum has many weathered buttes and rock pinnacles sticking up from its surface:

    1pOTF4T.jpg

    IRL geologists call pinnacles like these "yardangs". The Wikipedia article on yardangs says, "A yardang is a streamlined protuberance carved from bedrock or any consolidated or semiconsolidated material by the dual action of wind abrasion by dust and sand, and deflation which is the removal of loose material by wind turbulence."

    The buttes and the yardangs are evidence of a very long and slow process of wind erosion.

    In some places in Elsweyr there are also beds of sedimentary rock. These are quite deep:

    OvuuaTI.jpg

    It can be seen that the sedimentary strata overlay the wind-eroded base stratum, filling in the spaces between the buttes and yardangs. This creates an unconformity. Wikipeida says - "An unconformity is a buried erosional or non-depositional surface separating two rock masses or strata of different ages, indicating that sediment deposition was not continuous. In general, the older layer was exposed to erosion for an interval of time before deposition of the younger."

    This is all evidence of a geological process. The base layer of rock was exposed to wind erosion for long enough to allow the formation of the buttes and yardangs. Then the whole landscape must have been sunk beneath water for long enough to allow for the deposition of the sedimentary strata that fill the gaps between the buttes and yardangs. Long enough for those sediment layers to be changed into solid rock strata. The land surface must then have been lifted above the waves once more. A further time period must then have elapsed, long enough for a vast amount of the sedimentary strata to be eroded away, to form the landscape we can now see in Elsweyr.

    wsnORy8.jpg

    Notice how far down the sedimentary rock strata have been eroded away to expose the base stratum's buttes and yardangs once again.

    On planet Earth this geological process would take millions of years to happen. How can these millions of years of realistic geological processes be reconciled with the TES Lore time line? According to TES Lore there may have been as little as 6000 years between the creation of Nirn and the time of ESO.

    I'd like to see how the Devs are going talk their way out of this one. I'm sure it would make a fascinating addition to TES Lore. Are we supposed to believe that a few thousand years ago the Earth Bones created Nirn in such a way that it was already many millions of years old? Hmmm, I seem to remember hearing that argument somewhere before.

    Anyone got any better ideas to help us all resolve this lorific conundrum?

    Wow and I thought I was an obsessed lore nerd ;P

    This is one of those things that dont need to be heavily explained. We know Nirn works in a fundamentally different way from earth and its sciences. Regardless of what Zenimax says when they want to justify their blandness, Nirn is NOT earth, and the Mundus is not bound by real world science or physics. Rocks almost certainly do not work the way they do in our universe.

    But even if they do, this can be explained in several ways:

    1. The Elder Scrolls timeline has been reset an infinite number of times, when a giant monster eats reality and brings everything back to the moment it began. These rocks could have survived one or two of these feasts, as we know there are parts left over that carry into the next
    2. If we go by the "continents = kalpas (timelines)" theory, then Tamriel existed in some form long before it was the symbolic and literal center of nirn and before the races we know and love came to inhabit it. These rocks may have existed in this primordial pseudo-Tamriel while history was playing out on Yokuda.
    Edited by psychotrip on May 19, 2019 11:21AM
    No one is saying there aren't multiple interpretations of the lore, and we're not arguing that ESO did it "wrong".

    We're arguing that they decided to go for the most boring, mundane, seen-before interpretation possible. Like they almost always do, unless they can ride on the coat-tails of past games.
  • Elsonso
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    There is no contradiction here, in the ES universe gods actually exist and theyre the reason for the world of nirn and the universe of Mundus existing. Unlike our universe being created over time by natural forces.

    As for the timeline. We dont really know how long the Merethic Era spanned as the earliest dated object from that time is ME 2500. Most events arent even properly dated and god knows how far back the ME actually goes seeing as there isnt much to go on as it is. And the Dawn Era has absolutely no timeline as time did not follow a linear path as it does now. Any objects that in our real world would require millions or billions of years to pass could have occurred in ES during that non-linear period. Or being that it was created by actual gods. They could have snapped their fingers and it happened over night. So is the way of things in a universe where gods and endless magic exists.

    Current creation theory suggests that Mundus is basically a plane of existence, separated from Oblivion, that was created by the Aedra, not evolved over time. What we see, geologically speaking, was placed there by the forces that created Nirn.

  • Ajaxandriel
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    the yardangs
    This would be a great name for a band!
    Grandesdar wrote: »
    not just some rock

    Name already taken, seemingly.

    Thanks to you guys, this group will become famous:



    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Edited by Ajaxandriel on May 21, 2019 12:12AM
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  • Ajaxandriel
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    Back to the topic:
    into a world that was unquestionably divinely created a few thousand years in past.
    unquestionably
    5b0821d415e9f917c2730963.jpg
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  • RealWhiteGuar
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    The sediments are leftover layers of previous realities, sandwiched together from the 12 Worlds of Creation.

    Or perhaps this is the bit the Leaper Demon King kept hiding away.
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  • DaveMoeDee
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    Burgererer wrote: »
    Whats the point of this thread? To make OP feel smarter than everyone else? Or are they asking for some kind of change? Also "too realistic this time"? Is the magic, dragons, and cat people too realistic as well?

    What is wrong with the thread? This is exactly the kind of post people who love the lore will appreciate, even if they disagree. If you don't care about lore, ignore it.
  • Juhasow
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    I see 2 explanations
    1. magic
    2. who cares
  • ArchMikem
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    Or perhaps Aedric Creationism is also just a story in Tamriel and Nirn really has been around for that long. The Lore arent sourced history books, everything has generations of interpretation and embellishments. For all we know Nirn being created by Lorkhan was just a myth made up by the Ehlnofey, or whatever people came "first".
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  • RaddlemanNumber7
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    Or maybe the gods of TES didn't stop creating the world at the end of the Dawn Era.

    One of the Elsweyr delves is an oil and sulphur mine :o It has pools of oily water in it. SO, I'm seeing Sotha Sil's oily fingerprints all over this one. We are told that the Clockwork City is a functioning microcosm of Nirn, and that it can be used to remake Nirn. A bit of tinkering in CWC resulted in some of Elsweyr's geology changing to mirror the stratified form of CWC's "rocks", along with the oily ground water that flows through them.

    Tribunal be praised!
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  • Oakenaxe
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    Benzux wrote: »
    I do find it a bit silly that you're trying to use real-world logic to explain things in a fictional, fantasy world. However, I will humour you.

    As has already been pointed out, TES makes use of the "unreliable narrator". Every book in the games can be considered canon, but not everything written in them is. Many books even conflict with each other. Thus, since we don't have "divinely inspired" knowledge of the creation process of Mundus and Nirn straight from the Gods themselves, we cannot be completely sure how it happened. The Dawn Era might have lasted for millions of years, or it could have lasted 6000, and all the landscape was simply created as it is.
    If we step away from Elsweyr for a moment, there are also some other "geological anomalies" to take into account, namely all of the mountains and mountain ranges in Tamriel. In real life, Mountains are formed due to the movement of tectonic plates, so what does that tell us about the different mountains in Tamriel? Tamriel, especially its northern parts, must be at a point where multiple plates meet, given the amount of mountains in High Rock, Skyrim and even Morrowind. Then there are the two "mountain islands" of Vvardenfell and Summerset, which feature The Red Mountain and Eton Nir, respectively. Vvardenfell makes sense, as it's a volcanic island, and supposedly either rose from the sea, or was directly created by the Aedra after an unspecified time after Lorkhan's Heart was separated from his body, but Summerset is more interesting, as Eton Nir - to our knowledge - isn't volcanic. So, what does this tell us about Nirn's geology? It's highly likely that the Gods simply created Nirn as is, and it may or may not have changed over time.

    Totally agree. I study geology and I felt bothered the first time I went to Stonefalls and saw all of that eternal flow of lava, going straight to rivers in some places and disappearing like it's soluble on water, with barely any steam around. But then I remembered it's a magical, fantasy world, and if I were to bother with non-realistic approaches I would bother a lot. lol

    Just pick any possible explanation and convince yourself, the quoted post offers some decent ones.

    a.k.a. Leo
  • SirAndy
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    TL;DR Elsweyr has a designed-in sequence of realistic rock strata that must have taken millions of years to form. The TES Lore timeline from the creation of Nirn onwards spans only a few thousand years. I think the Devs have some explaining to do.

    - You don't understand how lore works. Lore *literally* is completely made up by people.
    Those same people can make up anything they want to at any time and it will always be canon.

    - You are projecting real world geology onto a fantasy computer game that has no basis in the real world.
    That argument *always* fails, for obvious reasons.

    TL:DR - Nope ...
    shades.gif

    Edited by SirAndy on May 28, 2019 10:55PM
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