Worldbuilding (part 6: Glaciers and Fjords) (19/4/2012)

Strictly I supposed glaciers and fjords are a subset of rivers – what passes for rivers in places where the water never really thaws. Like Slatibartfast, I have a fondness for fjords. Basic fjords? Mountainous coasts that were once covered in ice for a long time (to make the glaciers that carved the valleys that become the fjords). Fjords generally have very steep sides and deep water and are a fine place for siting Impenetrable Fortresses Of Doom, since it’s pretty hard to negociate a coastline full of fjords without doing it by sea. They can reach a good long way inland too.

Wikipedia tells you more on glaciers and fjords than you need to know for most world-building purposes, but  really, the point here are the pictures. Look at pictures of fjords and then try to imagine building a world without them? Not possible, right? Absolutely NOT possible.

Here’s a less than perfect fjord picture. The point, really, is HOW THE HELL DO YOU TRAVEL THIS LANDSCAPE WITHOUT A FLY SPELL? This is why Fortresses Of Doom like to live in fjords.

Doubtful Sound

And here’s a picture of a glacial lake. Just because. First person to name the mountain in the background right in the middle wins a copy of King of the Crags and Order of the Scales.

Photoshop lake

8 Responses to “Worldbuilding (part 6: Glaciers and Fjords) (19/4/2012)”

  1. Rory Hunter says:

    Complete guess, but is it Lake Namtso with Everest in the background?

  2. Edwin says:

    Is it one of these?
    If so, I get the prize :D (please)

  3. Stephen says:

    It’s Mount Cook, highest peak in New Zealand with Lake Pukaki (I think) in the foreground. In hindsight that was a bit hard, although I did get one correct answer (thank you Gavin). I’ll post an easier mountain next time.

  4. Edwin says:

    Lol I live in New Zealand and have been to Mount Cook, and I didn’t recognise it. :(

  5. Annie says:

    Stephen is right, it’s Mt Cook done wideangle, L Pukaki.

  6. Annie says:

    Actually, strictly speaking, it’s Aoraki/Mt Cook. It’s now officailly named in both Maori and English.

  7. Acacia says:

    I do a bit of worldbuilding in my free time, and have found this to be an excellent resource. I’ve been having some problems with small islands and island chains in my worldbuilding, namely that I don’t know a thing about them. Can you give any information on island formation? (I’m thinking stuff like the philippine islands)

  8. Stephen says:

    Yes, I keep meaning to come back to the whole worldbuilding basics posts. In essence islands come in two types. “Continental” ones are surrounded by shallow(ish) water and part of a continent that happens to be under water. Their terrain is basically formed the same way as all the rest of the continental terrain, although the coasts will obviously be moulded by the sea. Island chains are more typically volcanic in origin and surrounded by deep ocean (the Phillipines fall into this category). It may be the case that the ‘active’ part of a large volcano will move about over time, so one peak will grow up from the ocean floor and then stop erupting and another eruption point will begin nearby. More details at

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