Capsica: The Arch: North Coast
by Chris Wayan, 2016
Outline only! Under construction!
The Arch is a crustal spreading zone like Earth's mid-ocean rifts. But Capsica's shallow seas don't hide this huge structure underwater--or not much of it. The rift has two ridges flanking it, where the crust upwells; these wander, parallel, like the rails of a gigantic train track. The rift between is hot, arid--cut off from rain by the flanking ridges.
This north slope of the Arch gets winter storms--not blizzards of course, as on Earth at high latitudes, but rain. It's hot enough for rhodophores to flourish in the lowlands; in the cooler highlands, the predominant color is green. The lowlands, wet or dry, summer or winter, are warm even by Capsican standards, and fatal to Terrans much of the year--35-45°C (95-113°F) in winter and up to 65°C (149°F) in summer. They'd be hotter yet if they weren't so humid; clouds often cover the coasts. But inland, where it's drier, it really heats up.
Rule of thumb in the Arch: if it's green, you'll find it hot but survivable. Red? Not.
Dozens of ridges and sounds radiate from the rift at right angles; these are fracture zones, where the plate, spreading at different rates in different sections, grinds and slips. Such fractures dominate the region, defining the coastline, deciding where rain will fall (and won't), where most of the population lives, creating long updraft-corridors the locals use for flyways, and, incidentally, creating cooler highlands that Earth tourists can bear in winter, largely determining our tour routes.
The other prominent landform you'll notice right off: huge shield volcanoes rise here, up to 14 km high (46,000'). In Capsica's low gravity, that's not shocking. Even on Earth, Mauna Kea is 10 km tall (33,000'), though much of that is hidden undersea. Most giants of this type are one of a chain created as the spreading plate moves over a deeper hot spot: the Kurai Peninsula (upper left) and the Nohaa chain (top) are good examples. But there are exceptions--Mt Artho, in the east, is a solitary giant 10 km high.
Prevailing winds here are usually from the west. So I think we'll start from Dorlin Strait, gateway to Kurai Peninsula on Chai. In early winter, storms start rolling in off the northern sea, drenching and cooling the heights to Terran temperatures.
We'll ride the winds northeast, along capes and coastal islands, then veer southeast, approaching huge Nohaa Island; and then, since these capes and islands--fracture zones extending from the rift that built the Arch--grow lower (and thus hotter) in the central stretch, we'll head southeast to the ridgetops of the Rift itself--farther south, and bordering the Rift Desert, both heating factors; but the flanking ridges are higher too, and by late winter I think you'll survive to reach the cool green shoulders of Mt Artho at tour's end.
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