View Full Version : Where to place mountains?

08-16-2012, 08:58 PM
Hey guys,

I'm looking for some information on where to place mountains on a map.

Now, please, I'm not looking for the plate tectonics/volcanic activity lecture lol. I'm looking for a good general rule of thumb that will make it look pretty good.

Maybe things you have tried and worked out well, or didn't work out so well.

Thanks all!

EDIT: Crap, realized this is not the section I thought it was. If a mod sees this, feel free to move it.

08-16-2012, 09:24 PM

-Rob A>

08-18-2012, 04:19 PM
Without going too much into how they arise, I'd say make them systematic. Use linear layouts - clumpy, without being just thin strings. If you want a broad mass of roughness like the Himalayas or Alps, even therein you see linear groupings.

Variety works. I.e. not all continents = central lump of mountains surrounded by wide swaths of plains (sombrero form), nor only coastal. Run some out to sea, where sea level drowned some formerly-dry peaks, and have those taper off from bold peaks onshore to peninsulas along the axis of your range, to clumps of isles, to isolated islets, to (if you're showing underwater relief) banks and seafloor ridges. Vary your heights too. Even on a highly-symbolized hand-drawn style you can distinguish between this range that's all rounded and worn-down, and that one which is young and pointy.

Give your ranges some foothills, if the style permits.

Those kind of generalities?

08-18-2012, 05:14 PM
I.e. not all continents = central lump of mountains surrounded by wide swaths of plains (sombrero form)

This is actually pretty much non-existant. Mountains occur along seams. These may be seams that have since fused solid (the Urals), seams between continents colliding (The Himalayas). seams where ocean plate is subducting under a continent (The American Cordillera) or other ocean plate (Japan), or the remains of an old mountain range from an earlier collision which has now opened back up (The Appalachians). Then there are complex situations that combine elements, like the Alps and Atlas mountains around the Mediterranean or the Southern Alps in New Zealand, and odd things like Hot Spots (Hawaii, Iceland) which produce isolated volcanoes.

A "lump" or "spine" in the middle of a continent though is just wrong. It's a result of thinking of them as just being big islands as islands do often have a central lump or spine.

08-18-2012, 10:37 PM
Ok, so don't put a huge mountain range in the middle of the continent and such.

Hmm, I'll see if I can throw a small bit together and put it up on here to see what's what.