The Geology of Game of Thrones

Image Map

This is Westeros as it exists in the days of tumult, in the days following the death of King Robert Baratheon, in the shortening days that warn that winter is coming.  But this is also the geological history of Westeros, reaching far deeper through the annals of time than the reign of any of the Seven Kingdoms.  We pieced this geologic history together from character observations, town names, official Game of Thrones maps, and the principles of geology learned here on Earth.  Using only limited data we were able to reimagine 500 million years of planetary evolution, including volcanoes, continents rising from the oceans, and ice ages (with guest appearance by white walkers and dragons).  To explore the history, and to view our maps of the geologic reconstructions, click the numbered icons on the map, or on the links below.

Geologic events occurring XX million years ago (Mya) on Westeros:
(today) The size of the Game of Thrones planet
(25 Mya) The Earth split Westeros from Essos
(30-40 Mya) When Dorne boiled
(40 Mya) Land of ice
(60-80 Mya) The rise of the Black Mountains
(80-100 Mya) As the Moon rose, so did the Lannisters
(300 Mya) Diving the tropical reefs of Winterfell
(450 Mya) The sand ran red
(500 Mya) The first mountains
(2,000 Mya) Can you find it?

Attributions:
The geologic map of Westeros was created by Miles Traer. The geologic history of Westeros was written by Miles Traer with the help of Mike Osborne. Additional scientific details were provided by Hari Mix. Game of Thrones is copyrighted by George R.R. Martin.
Acknowledgements:
All of the maps created for this project are based on maps created by Jonathan Roberts, Tear, and TheMountainGoat. Certain artistic details (such as mountain ranges) have been copied and adapted to suit the needs of the geological reconstructions. Without these detailed and artfully drawn maps, little of this project would have been possible. Many details regarding the history of Westeros and the various rock types found on the continent can be found at “A wiki of ice and fire.”

3 thoughts on “The Geology of Game of Thrones

  1. This is a brilliant and comprehensive analysis of the geology of Westeros and I highly appreciate it. I have always been wondering about the source and origin of the hot springs in Winterfell.
    There is only one shortcoming in the overall theory. Much of the conclusions are driven from assumptions based on climate, but as some hints from the stories suggest, climate patterns are much different from those on Earth. Winters in human records of Westeros have lasted for very variable periods – from a couple of years to a human lifetime (i.e. assuming shorter human life-spans in the middle ages, we can infer 40-50 years). It is also mentioned that winters are dark, hence these are actual seasons, not just cold climatic events or excursions, they are distinct from glacials. Hence, astronomic forcing must be considered. The planet’s orbit is evidently longer than that of Earth’s (lasting a few decades rather than a year, inferring again from the length of winters), with variable excentricity (inferred from the described severity of some winters, although these may be also attributed to solar activity, atmospheric composition potentially influenced by volcanic eruptions and other “catastrophic” events) and axial tilt. Both the excentricity and axial tilt can influence the length and severity of winters and to the best of my knowledge, we cannot – with the information available – distinguish them. Therefore, I would like to point out that all assumptions based on latitude should be treated with caution with regard to planet’s precession and nutation, and propose further study of climate variability that would further explain the origin of the sedimentary deposits and potentially help us estimate the duration and severity of the winter to come 🙂

  2. Thanks for publishing this awesome article.I’m a badass follower of Game of Thrones. I’ve been watching it since it aired. My all time favourite character is Ned Stark. I really liked your article and will share this on my Instagram. Thank you so much for a great post!

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