forum Making tectonic plates when there is already land?
Started by @Purple-Cat location_cityThe Worldbuilder
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@Purple-Cat location_cityThe Worldbuilder

I want to try laying out the tectonic plates in my world but I’ve already designed my worlds lands as a world wide archipelago and I’ve already used it for so long that I don’t want to change it at all. Would that matter when drawing tectonic plates?

@Mojack group

unless you’re planning for the story to take place over millions of years, I wouldn’t say it would matter to an extreme degree (tectonic plates do influence the shape of a land over a long period of time)
So for example, converging plates would result in mountains to form, while divergent plates create oceans when they pull apart from one another
Converging plates may also cause earthquakes, create volcanoes, or create ocean trenches due to subduction
Most divergent boundaries would be underwater
transforming boundaries on the other hand slide against each other, causing earthquakes. so you’d want to keep in mind the different types of tectonic plates while drawing them (IF you plan to go into that detail of course; you don’t have to separate them by type. It’s your world after all!)
here’s a map outlining the earth’s tectonic plates for example and the different types

I’m currently studying physical geography so this question was nice to answer!

@Purple-Cat location_cityThe Worldbuilder

I gave it a rough go, I put the ends of plates when I wanted there to be trenches and earthquakes the most, though I didn’t really think about the different types of plates yet.
And for the record, the darker patches are land and the lighter patches are ocean borders of the lands.

@Serpentess health_and_safety languageChaos Shall Reign

Just popping on here for the heck of it, and since physical geology is a favorite subject of mine. After seeing your pic, it reminded me of fault lines. And, from what I understand, the biggest fault lines are tectonic plate boundaries, but there’s a ton of progressively smaller faults that mark the boundaries of different rock types.

The Wikipedia link will probably give a better explanation of faults than me, but my gist is, you can now figure out fault lines and which ones are actually tectonic plates or just smaller faults (if that works for your world).

I hope this helps, grin.