A Fantastically Detailed Geological History for Game of Thrones

A group of geologists and map designers have reconstructed the geological ages of Essos, Westeros, and other regions described in Game of Thrones. The results are incredible — and reveal just how violent and mythic real-life geological changes can be.

Over at Stanford's Generation Anthropocene blog, a gang of fantasy and geophysics fans have pored over George RR Martin's novels, as well as related fan wikis, to produce the map above. It shows what kinds of rocks and metals can be found in the Game of Thrones land masses — as well as what the likely climates are in each region.

Using the same kinds of tools that allow geologists to model historical and future climates, the group has made educated guesses about what kinds of natural disasters broke and made this dragon-infested planet. They've named each geological period after Earth's geological periods, just to make it easier. But then they've invented events like massive vulcanism, plate tectonics that divided Essos from Westeros, and more. It's marvelously detailed and mesmerizing. They've acutally created entire histories for each period. Here they are:

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

Click on each one to discover how this planet came to have its ice age, its fire age, and more. There are a lot of goofy bits of humor throughout, as when the group wonders whether arid climates are partly created by lots of dragon fire as well as normal desertification processes.

You're left with the sense that the real events that shape planets are just as awesome, complicated and terrifying as what lies beyond the Wall.

Go now, and read the entire geological history of Westeros at Generation Anthropocene