Check out this cool (and detailed) geological map of Skyrim

A scientist has set out to create a geological map of Skyrim. It's kind of rough at this point, she admits, but it's still pretty awesome.

One of the big time sucks — one of MANY — in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is upgrading your equipment. To do this, you need to acquire the raw materials, such as iron, silver and malachite. Granted, you could easily buy all this stuff from one of the vendors scattered throughout the land, but you could also be a bit more adventurous and mine the ore yourself.

So geologist Jane Robb decided to create a geological map of Skyrim's ores. To do this, she relied on the ever-useful UESP (Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages) to pinpoint the locations of the major ore veins. What she's created so far is what you see above (note: on the map iron is red, corundum is blue, ornichalcum is purple, quicksilver is white, silver is grey and moonstone is yellow), but it wasn't easy. She explains:

The map here is very rough. It is hard to get accurate locations from one map to another, but I have tried my best. This means that every location is likely to be relatively inaccurate. In addition, because of the nature of geologically mapping a hypothetical location, there is not much possibility of identifying ‘contacts’ between different rock types.

Why are ‘contacts’ so important? The location that two or more rock types are in contact with each other is crucial for mapping in the field. It is through identification of contacts between rocks that geologists are able to define where a body of rock is below the surface. In nature you will see exposures of rocks at the surface – when you are walking along and you see some rock sticking out of the grass that is obviously part of the hill you are walking on, or a road that has cut away at the rock around it. These rocks don’t just occur there though. The rock goes below the ground where you can’t see it, and the purpose of geological mapping is to find out where the rock is below the surface. If you know where the rocks are below the surface this is one of the keys to understanding how they got there.

To do this requires an understanding of the type of rock you are looking at – is it hard or soft – which will determine whether you are likely to see it on a hill or on flat land. Contacts between one rock and another provide definite boundaries that you can mark off on your map and are one of the most important pieces of information for geologists in the field.

Given the difficulties, Robb is now calling on other geologists to throw their ideas into the hat and help her out. She could probably figure it all out herself, but as she says on her blog, "I would rather spend my time in Skyrim plundering ruins, killing dragons and doing cool quests."

Now, there's an actual purpose to all of this. Robb is making an educational mod for Skyrim, which you can read all about here.

For now, we're content with just gazing at her beautiful creation.

You can read more about Robb's map on her blog.

Via Tobias Buckell. Image via Jane Robb.