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A Gazetteer of Serrana:
place names defined
by Chris Wayan, 2004
Serrana - map and regional tours - Creatures and People - Culture - Evolution -
Geographic and geological terms defined - Nomenclature, pronunciation - How I built Serrana
GEOGRAPHIC TERMS WITH SPECIAL MEANINGS
- Aburros Sea: Serrana's Atlantic, with a similar wasp-waist. The north half reaches the pole; pack and shelf ice breaks off into low tabular bergs in summer. The southern half is warm, shallow, and dotted with islands. Aburros Island, 500 km long, lies near the center of the South Aburros. Shaped like a 7, it's unbroken tropical forest.
- Anigvess Island: comma-shaped, equatorial Anigvess lies off the eastern shore of the Eamet Ocean. It's nearly the size of Borneo, and rainforest covers all but the highest peaks. Anigvess Bay, to the north, right on the equator, is as close to Amazonian as this world gets; the rainforest's broken only by the swampy bayous of the huge Ytrebil Delta.
- Baragv River: the Tutitsni/Baragv is the longest river system on Serrana, some 5500 km, and drains the largest basin. The Baragv's source is the glaciers of Mt Sitim, highest peak of the Ytrebil Range, east of the Narek Sea. The Baragv drops into canyons in a semi-arid plain, which widens and greens to the south until it's a lush veldt with riverine woods. The groves thicken until they're unbroken forest, around the confluence of the Tutitsni, which waters an additional 2-3M sq km (1M sq mi) of mixed savanna and open forest. The Tutitsni then flows west 2000 more km, through the biggest rainforest on Serrana, to end in a branching Amazonian delta, below snowy Ytrebil Tholus. Why isn't the combined river called the Baragv? It's an injustice precisely analogous to the Mississippi-Missouri system, and for the same reason: the shorter branch runs through a rainy zone and has a larger flow. (Nah, it's not because in THE DISPOSSESSED, no one gives old Gvarab any respect.)
- Bavor Steppe: a vast semi-arid prairie with harsh winters, north of the Green Mountains and south of Fjord Tundra and the brackish Galur Zee. Larger than Mongolia, it rivals the Surret Steppe to the west past Lake Terut. The few streams flow north to dead-end in marshy, brackish lakes at the foot of Bavor Escarpment. Fjord Tundra begins atop the cliffs.
- Binchun Veldt and the Binchun Range: a long depression like California's Great Valley, but ten times bigger; its floor is a flat savanna watered by snowmelt from the Binchun Range to the east. It lies just east of the Green Spill, between the Narek and Niirg Seas.
- Birut Islands: an archipelago southeast of Rolny Peninsula in the western Eamet Ocean, the Sri Lanka to its India. The Biruts are low and rainforested; the largest is 200 km long.
- Mt Bunub: a constantly active volcano, 6500 m high (21,400') on the east-central rim of Yanneba Plano, looming over Mosnoll Veldt to the east.
- Mt Chazeg: A massive volcano 7200 m high (23,600') on the southern Yanneba Plano, and linking the great plateau to the Rased Range to the south. Chazeg has a caldera worthy of Mars--a cliffwalled oval crater 40 km wide (25 mi). From its slopes, still taller Mt Lipert is visible to the northeast. Chazeg is the southernmost of The Trio, including Lipert and Mt Navoks further north.
- Chiggelk: an island 600 km long and 200 wide, at the west end of the Eamet Archipelago. Rather Mediterranean, with open "oak" woods; downwind slopes are often wide meadows. The central hills are more densely wooded.
- Corona Hills: This range on Cape Nirit has a peculiar structure, like overlapping bowls and burst bubbles. These aren't impact craters but coronas, common on Venus but little known on Earth. They may be 1) an elastic upwelling of new crust, or 2) a puckering infall that pushes old crust into raised ovals and rings, or 3) a small, rotating buffer zone between larger shifting plates--a sort of bearing to reduce friction. Their concentric ridges divert the rain, opening up the forest to savanna.
- Derr Hills and Cape Derr: Low, rainforested, equatorial hills on the southwest shore of the Aburros Sea, on Ramig Sound. The Hills divide the Ngirpsderr Basin from the drier South Ngisyar Basin to the north. Cape Derr thrusts east into the Sound.
- Desert Islands: a cluster stretching 800 km across the northeastern Leas Sea. The largest is 250 km across. All are flat, dry, dusty veldt, like offshore chips of the coastal Leas Desert; they end in low, endless sea-cliffs, like Australia's Nullarbor Plain.
- Dry Shore or Desert Shore: the east coast of the Leas Sea, especially the northern stretch fronting the Leas Desert, a tongue of the huge Tsud. Salt flats and marine terraces run inland hundreds of km; clearly the Leas has shrunk in recent eons.
- Eamet Ocean: 60% of all Serrana's water by area, 2/3 by volume, is in the Eamet (eh-AH-met, nearly YAH-met.) Ocean. It's still much shallower than any Earth sea, and full of island arcs: the western Tsethuas Is., northern Ynlor and Ninellam Is., central Eamets, southeastern Leas Is., and eastern Anigvess Is. (see).
- The Eamet Archipelago, in the heart of the Eamet Ocean, is nearly the size of the Philippines, with a mild warm maritime climate unusual for Serrana. Eamet itself, the largest island, is a snaky mass of lava flows 1000 km wide, built up by Eamet Shield, a volcano 6 km high, rivaled only by Ynlor Shield 2500 km northwest. Chiggelk, the next largest, at the west end of the Eamets, has only modest tholi, but is still as big as Ireland; Eddat and Ramma, in the south, are less than half as big.
- Eddat: an island 400 km long and 250 wide in the western Eamet Archipelago. Wooded but not rainforest, Eddat's downwind slopes are often open meadows. Due east is even larger Ramma; northwest, past a host of lesser islands, is Chiggelk, the size of Ireland.
- Epoh Basin: A scrubby desert on the east edge of the Tsud, nestled between the heights of Pedess Plano and Mosnoll Plano. Their snows feed the shallow but year-round Epoh River, an oasis winding across the basin. The northern Epoh plains are semi-arid, eventually blending into the southern Mosnoll Veldt. To the southwest is Pedess Basin, hot, dry and mostly bare rock
- Eronit Range, River, and Basin: a great basin west of the Eamet Ocean, inland from the Larrotil Shore. Eronit's much like the southeast USA from Georgia to Texas, with subtropical forests near the sea and prairies inland, ending in the Eronit Mts. Behind the front range, the Eronits widen to a plano, like the Emosonols further north; the bordering peaks are over 5 km tall, so the Eronit River runs pale green with glacial silt--and more importantly, runs steady and cold during the summer drought, watering millions of creatures on the prairie below.
- Fjord Shore, Fjord Zees: the northeast shore of the Aburros Sea is a series of deep straight fjords--ice-smoothed but not ice-created (they're parallel mountain ranges). The northern fjords are barren, the central ones tundra and bog, the southern densely forested. Inland is tundra broken by three brackish seas or lakes--the Fjord Zees. The largest, Galur Zee, is trident-shaped and nearly 1000 km long, comparable to the Caspian or northern Baltic. Lubas and Samis are each one-third as large.
- Galur Zee: a small, cold, brackish sea northeast of the Aburros Sea. It's trident-shaped and nearly 1000 km long, comparable to the Caspian or northern Baltic. Two little sister zees, Lubas and Samis, lie to the west, nearer the Aburros coast; they're each one-third as large.
- Great South Tundra (or just South Tundra): the stark, cold plains between the south polar cap and the Tsud Desert and Leas Range. While it's called tundra for brevity, the northern edge isn't permafrost, but steppe, thawing fully in summer. It's still cold, windy and huge: it sprawls 7000 km, from Tundra Bay to the Thuas Shore--nearly halfway round Serrana. It's all mammoth country--no one else wants it.
- Green Mts: the long northern mountain range bordering Rakach Plano, paralleling the great Sa Rethen Range to the south. They're really not that green--but at least there are some trees, in contrast to the high plateau and the stark steppes below.
- Green Shore: the fertile southwest shore of the Narek Sea. It's a strip-oasis: inland, it quickly rises to the Tutitsni Hills and the dry veldt beyond. The Green Shore's named in contrast to the southeast desert coast of the Narek Sea--the Red Shore.
- Green Spill: the valley between the Narek and the Niirg Seas; at present its northern rivers run to the Narek, its southern to the Niirg, but in wetter eras the Narek Sea overflows in a brackish "river" down into the faster-evaporating Niirg. In even wetter times, the two seas merge and the Spill becomes a strait.
- Ice Sea: the size of the Mediterranean (a million square mi / 2.5M sq km), this brackish body is half ice-covered in summer and usually freezes over entirely in late winter. It stretches from the North Pole down as far as 63 degrees. The northeast shore is Narek Cap, the size of Greenland; the narrow Polar Mountains link this to Fjord Cap, half as big, to the west. Glaciers from both caps and the Polars calve into the sea, so the ice shelf is complex and often broken by polynyas (holes of open water). The southern shores are tundra; in this era, the treeline doesn't quite reach the southern tip.
- Intelp na Seep Desert, Intelp Tholus, Seep Mts: Intelp Tholus is a volcano 8 km high on the east shore of the Aburros Sea. Lesser cones just a few miles high stud Cape Intelp, curving inland and south--the Seep Mts. Between range and shore is the Intelp na Seep Desert: as big as the Kalahari or Gobi, it's one of Serrana's few coastal deserts. Offshore is a high-pressure zone of dry air, and the high mountain arc blocks storms from the north. Two snowfed rivers wind through the desert and arid veldt, making snaky oases: the Intelp in the west and the longer, many-branched Seep River in the east.
- Irukuk is an equatorial island in the Ynomrah Archipelago, in the northern Eamet Ocean. Irukuk's a fish-shaped, mountainous island covered in rainforest, 700 km (450 mi) long and half as wide. To the north lies slender, drier Ynomrah, like a north-south Crete; to the south floats Rekvat, a triple-sized Cuba.
- Mt Kevesh: a peak 7600 m high (25,000'), dominating northeastern Yanneba Plano, joining the great plateau to the Sa Rethen Mts and Yanneba Hills to the east. It's the source of both the Kevesh and Yanneba Rivers.
- Kidas River, Lake Kidas: 4800 km (3000 mi) long, the Kidas and its many branches drain 5 million sq km (2M sq mi) of the Surret Steppe and Thron Forest, east of the Aburros Sea and north of the Sa Rethen/Green Mountains, Yanneba Plano, and the Intelp na Seep Range. The northern, "forest" Kidas drains Lake Kidas, a cold, boggy-shored lake 540 km long and half as wide; the southern "steppe" branch has a smaller flow but reaches much further inland, to marshy Lake Terut.
- Larrotil Shore: the long green subtropical west coast of the Eamet Ocean, from the equatorial Sosna Hills to Nusheb Bay and Cape Tsethuas, 2500 km south. Low green hills, with short rivers, divide the Shore from Eronit Prairie, inland.
- Latrop Shore: this southeast coast of the Leas Sea borders the Tsud, the great southern desert. Latrop can get dust storms, but the mountains take the brunt, and rainfall is high for the south. Latrop's heart is wooded, with savanna thinning to the north and east into the Leas Desert.
- Leas: a mid-sized southern sea, about 2 million square miles (5M sq km). Leas's shores are mostly green: in the north, mountainous Niirg Neck, Leas Neck to the west (whose mountains extend into Cape Leas and the Leas Is. in the Eamet Ocean) and Latrop Shore to the south. The northeast shore, though, is the Leas Desert, a tongue of the huge Tsud.
- Line Island: an island 600 km long straddling the equator in the southern Aburros Sea; part of the Woble Is. With its string of volcanic cones for a spine, it resembles a small Java, as Woble Island just north of it resembles a little Sulawesi.
- Mt Lipert: a volcano 7600 m high (24,900'), highest on the southern Yanneba Plano. The central peak of The Trio; from its slopes, Mt Navoks floats above the northern horizon, and massive Mt Chazeg looms to the southwest.
- Lozret: an island 320 km long but no more than 80 wide (200 by 50 mi), off Tseu Neck on the southeast shore of the Aburros Sea. Covered in subtropical forest. With smaller Rugvep Island to the south, it shelters the shore, creating an inland passage.
- Lubas Zee: one of the Fjord Zees, northeast of the Aburros Sea. Lubas is a cold, brackish lake like a chilly Aral Sea. To the west is similar Samis Zee; to the southeast is far larger Galur Zee, comparable to the Caspian or northern Baltic.
- Mosnoll Range, River, Basin: a Congo-sized tropical basin west of Sosna Gulf on the Eamet Sea. Green on the coast, thinning slowly to savanna inland, then dry veldt at the feet of the Mosnoll Range, where the river arises in snowfed streams from wide, cool Mosnoll Plano, 3-4 km high, rimmed by glaciated Andean peaks up to 7 km (23,000 ft).
- Murd Range: low but snowy mountains curving north from the east end of Rakach Plano; the tail end of the Sa Rethen range. Between its two main arms is Murd Valley, whose thin forests and bogs fade to tundra just south of the Ice Sea. To the northwest is Murd Tundra, largest in the hemisphere--nearly the size of Northern Canada. Incidentally, Murd is pronounced more like "mothered" without the "th" than like "nerd", by the locals--if you can find any locals. Only mammoths really like Murd; it's Serrana's Siberia.
- Nanit River: the lazy Nanit winds through the eastern Intelp na Seep Desert, forming a long oasis like the Nile. The upper river is more vigorous; its source is 5 km up on the shoulder of Mt Nulip on the edge of Yanneba Plano
- Narek Sea: The third largest sea on Serrana, 5 million sq km (2 M sq mi--only twice our Mediterranean!) At the north end is Narek Ice Cap, the larger of the two northern caps, rivaling Greenland, though lower--rarely over a mile thick. At present no large glaciers calve into the sea; there's a barren coastal strip. Narek Tundra lies east of the northern sea; south of it lies Aburros Head, a fertile but isolated plain whose only migration corridor is from the south, up the isthmus between Narek and the Aburros Sea, which the locals call Narek Neck. Below this the dry east coast is dubbed the Red Shore, though only the central region is a true desert. At the south end, a valley, flooded in wetter, warmer times, leads 1200 km to the Niirg Sea. The western Narek shore south of Sherf Neck is called the Green Shore, and it truly is: one of the gardens of Serrana.
- Mt Navoks: a volcano 6500 m (21,000') high on the southern Yanneba Plano; northern tip of The Trio. To the south is Mt Lipert.
- Lake Nebesh: A lake 400 km long and up to 100 wide (250 by 65 mi), on the northern Rakach Plano, nearly 4 km high (13,000'). Many of the alpine basins form salt lakes, like Tibet's, but Nebesh is fresh, draining to a salt marsh on the Bavor Steppe to the north. To the east is a near-twin of Nebesh, Lake Turesh; to the south, even larger Lake Nuar.
- Nede Delta: A brackish swamp with winding tree-lined channels, something like the Everglades but the size of the entire state of Florida. The Nede stretches between the mouths of the Yanneba and Mosnoll Rivers at the head of Sosna Gulf. It rhymes with "Mayday."
- Nerrab Basin :a subtropical, rather dry basin much like the Yanneba just to the west: savanna and open wood in the south, prairie in the north below the spectacular Sa Rethen Mts. The Nerrab Hills, 2-3 km high, border the walley on the west; rainshadowing it on the east is the higher Ynlor Range.
- The Ngirps Range, Ngirps Plano: a north-south equatorial range east of the Niirg Sea. Ngirps Plano, three miles high, is a sky-island of alpine meadows above hotter, mostly drier lands below: Ngirpsderr Veldt to the east, Binchun Veldt to the north, and the Ngirps Shore to the west. There is also a Ngirps Island in the south-central Aburros Sea, 5000 km east of Nigrps Plano. The initial "ng" is like "wringer" not "finger."
- Ngirpsderr River and Basin: A basin the size of the Niger on the south shore of the Aburros Sea just west of the Woble Range. Green along the coast but quickly drying inland--partly a rainshadow effect of the mountains, partly latitude, and partly just the proximity of the Tsud Desert, which the basin fades into. It sounds roughly like "neerps dare."
- Ngisyar Hills, Plano, and River Valley: Another hard-working name. The long Ngisyar Valley is a pleasant subtropical plain of open groves and meadows, between forested hills, on the west shore of the Aburros Sea, south of Narek Neck. The Ngisyar Hills, 2-3 km high, bound the valley on the south. To the west, the land rises sharply to the peaks bordering Ngisyar Plano, nearly a million square km (400,000 sq mi) of alpine meadows hemmed by Andean peaks up to 6 km high.
- Ngitess: Even by Serranian standards this is a hard-working name. Ngitess Bay, about 1500 km across, lies south of Cape Nirit, on the east shore of the Eamet Ocean. The coast quickly rises inland to the Ngitess Range, which runs southwest into the sea at Cape Ngitess. I'll let you guess the name of the small archipelago offshore. The coast grows drier to the south; past the Cape it's a dry steppe, turning to desert inland, along the back side of the mountains. A web of winding canyons collects the sparse runoff from the peaks, and meanders northeast to the Niirg Sea, as the Ngitess River. This southeast coast of the Niirg, much greener than the desert, is often called the Ngitess Shore.
- Niirg Sea, Neck, Shore: A landlocked, mountain-rimmed, equatorial sea smaller than the Mediterranean, between the Narek and Leas Seas; the smallest of the chain. The Niirg Shore (north and west of the sea) is tropical forest; Niirg Neck, between the Niirg and Leas Seas, in the southeast, is cooler but also green. Due east is Niirg Veldt, a mountain-rimmed semi-arid basin with a central marsh, draining into the north end of sea. Southwest lies the South Ngitess Desert. By the way, it's pronounced "knee-erg" more than "near-g."
- Ninellam Bay, Range, Is. and Desert: A tongue of the northeastern Eamet Ocean, about 800 km long and 400 wide. On the west side is long Cape Ninellam, trailing off into the Ninellam Islands; to the north is the Ninellam Basin, a semi-arid plain below the arc of the Ninellam Hills. The hills are only 2 km high, but their piny heights sharply divide this rather Californian region from the hot Ytrebil Desert to the east.
- Cape Nirit: An equatorial peninsula as big as two Borneos, on the east shore of the Eamet Ocean. Just off its blunt tip is Anigvess Island. Nirit is nearly all rainforest, broken only by scattered patches of savanna on the lee side of the Corona Hills.
- North Pole: the narrow but heavily glaciated Polar Range, a mile high, links the two small polar caps: Narek Cap to the west, a bit smaller than Greenland, and Fjord Cap to the east, about half as big. A broad ice shelf lines the northern shore of both the Aburros and Ice Seas: in summer, low tabular bergs break off, shrinking the shelves to as little as 600 km; in winter it's 1000-1500.
- Lake Nuar: A lake 600 km long and up to 200 wide (390 by 130 mi), on the central Rakach Plano, nearly 4 km high (13,000'). Many of the alpine basins form salt lakes, like Tibet's, but Rakach drains to the Eamet Ocean via the long Ynomrah River. Nebesh and Turesh to the north are each nearly as large as Nuar.
- Mt Nulip: a peak 7 km high, dominating the northwest corner of Yanneba Plano, and linking the great plateau to the Intelp na Seep range to the west.
- Nusheb Bay: a bay 600 km (350 mi) wide on the west coast of the Eamet Ocean, at the south end of the Larrotil Shore, just north of Cape Tsethuas. Low hills with short rivers divide verdant Nusheb from drier Eronit Prairie, inland.
- Nyelp Dyao: a large basin on the northeast shore of Eamet Ocean, west of Cape Ninellam and east of the Ynomrah Shore. The coast is Mediterranean; inland is a hot dusty plain below the huge Sa Rethen Mts. It sounds like North India, but there's no summer monsoon; the mild winter rains are all it gets. Nyelp Dyao is pronounced just the way it's spelled.
- Pedess Range and Basin (Desert): The Pedess Range is a rugged raised cuplike formation 1500 km across, in the eastern Tsud Desert. It's unlike any Terran geo-structure, but resembles some coronas on Venus. The heights are semi-arid, with a few springs and trees in sheltered canyons; the central basin is hot and barren, with a seasonal salt lake. Northeast is the Senim Desert, south is the Reppok Desert, and west is the heart of the Tsud, but due east and north are Eronit and Mosnoll Planos, two large alpine plateaus forming green islands in the deserts.
- Rakach Plano: a plateau 3-5 km high (10-16,000 ft). Rakach is geologically analogous to a small Terran continent, some 5000 km long (3000 mi) and 6-1500 km wide (400-1000 mi). Its southern edge is the Sa Rethen range, its northern, the lower Green Mts. Both ranges drop steeply to deserts and grasslands. Like Tibet, many alpine basins have no drainage, forming great frigid lakes: Lake Nuar is 600 km long, Nebesh and Turesh not much smaller.
- The Ramig River drains a million-square-mile veldt basin (2.5M sq km!) southwest of the Aburros Sea. It's a near-perfect twin of the Mosnoll Basin: rainforest along the coast, open woods for the next thousand km upriver, wooded strips along the river through a drygrass sea for the last thousand, to the feet of the icy Binchun Range and Ngisyar Plano, sources of the snowmelt feeding the river through the dry season. Offshore is the Ramig Gulf, dappled with volcanic islands--Serrana's Indonesia. One of the largest islands is Ramig, a round shield volcano 180 km across--a near-twin to Ngirps Island to the southeast.
- Ramma: an island 500 km long and 250 wide (300 by 150 mi), in the eastern Eamet Archipelago. Wooded but not rainforest, Ramma's downwind slopes are often open meadows. Due west is similar Eddat; to the north, far larger Eamet.
- Rased Range, River, and Zee: The Rased Mts, 4-5 km high (13-16,000') stretch 1600 km (1000 mi) south from Yanneba Plano, paralleling the Mosnoll Range to the east. The Rased River collects snowmelt between the two and feeds the Rased Zee to the south. This briny, slightly alkaline lake, bigger than the Aral Sea, has fertile, marshy shores, but its low basin is semi-arid--the northern tip of the Tsud Desert.
- Rekvat Island: Largest of the Ynomrah Islands in the north-central Eamet Ocean. It's a chunk of equatorial rainforest the size of California, with an east-west spine of volcanoes up to 5000 m (16,000'), high enough for snow during orbital winter. Just to the south is Ynlor Shield.
- Reppok Range and Basin (Desert) : A high, massive east-west range in the southern Tsud Desert. Its heart is a plano 4 km (2.5 mi) high, a cool windy sea of alpine grass. Unlike the Andean altiplano, below Reppok lies no Amazon, no ocean, just steep, thinly forested slopes dropping to desert--indeed the Reppok Basin to the north, cut off from sea winds all around, is about the driest on Serrana.
- Rugvep: an island 200 km (130 mi) across, off Tseu Neck on the southeast shore of the Aburros Sea, covered in subtropical forest. Like long Lozret Island to the south, it shelters the shore.
- Sa Rethen Mts: Serrana's Himalaya, an east-west range north of the Eamet Ocean, fronting Rakach Plano, a plateau much like Tibet, and at a similar latitude. Mt Yendik is 11 km high, and fully 100 peaks top 8 km. Only Mt Woble, a near-Martian volcano in the south, is higher.
- Seep Mts: the mountainous arc cutting northern rains off from the Intelp na Seep Desert. Highest peaks are Seep Tholus at the east end, a volcano 6500 m high, and Intelp Tholus near the coast, nearly 8 km high.
- Samis Zee: one of the Fjord Zees, northeast of the Aburros Sea. Samis is a cold, brackish lake like a chilly Aral Sea. Thin evergreen forest surrounds Samis. To the east is similar Lubas Zee, then far larger Galur Zee, comparable to the Caspian or northern Baltic. To the south is Lake Kidas, about the same size but freshwater and far warmer.
- Senim Desert and Tholus.: A northern tongue of the Tsud Desert, far from any sea. The watercourses drain north to a seasonal alkali lake below the Senim Range, which supports forests and meadows; their summit is Senim Tholus, a volcano rising 5500 meters above the flats. North of the peak lies grassy veldt and marsh around Mosnoll Zee.
- Sherf Zee: a small brackish sea between similar Trats Zee and the much bigger Narek Sea to the east. The shores are mostly tundra; a few hundred km northeast lie the glaciers of Narek Cap; due north is an arm of the Ice sea, thawing in summer despite the name. But south is Sherf Wood, a boreal forest 1000 km wide, with Sherf Bog, a huge muskeg, in its center. Beyond to the south is Sherf Steppe, a prairie with hard winters but short hot summers; Serrana's Saskatchewan. Sherf, by the way, sounds more like sheriff than shirt.
- Mt Sitim: Highest peak of the Ytrebil Range, east of the Narek Sea. 5200 m (17,000') tall, Sitim is heavily glaciated, though the lowlands east and west of the Ytrebils are fairly dry. It's the source of the Baragv River, the longest river on Serrana, though its lower reaches are called the Tutitsni.
- Sosna Gulf, Forest, River, Hills: this northwestern tongue of the Eamet Ocean is big enough to be a sea of its own--10 million sq km (4 mil sq mi). The two capes at its wide mouth, Ynlor to the north and Tsethuas to the south, each have island chains larger than Japan. All the shores of Sosna Gulf are fertile, though the north end is Mediterranean, less lush than the subtropical east, west, and south. The low Sosna Hills due west of the gulf are the heart of a dense rainforest.
- Surret Steppe: a vast prairie, mild but semi-arid in the south, lush but harsh-wintered in the north. Surret lies east of the Aburros Sea and north of the Green Mountains. Surret is big--2 million sq km (nearly 1 M sq mi). To the north is dark Thron Forest and the chill, brackish Fjord Seas. Most streams collect in marshy Lake Terut, 300 mi long, then feed the Kidas River, running west to the sea.
- Talap Islands, Cape Talap: a small chain in the northern Eamet Ocean, between the Ninaellam Islands and the Ynomrahs. Subtropical open forest, rather Mediterranean; downwind slopes are often dry meadows. To the north, blunt, hilly Cape Talap is the size of Greece, though far less convoluted. The Talap River's branches, turquoise with glacial silt, descend from the eastern Rakach Plano to merge and meander over a wide coastal plain, debouching in the bay just west of Cape Talap.
- Lake Terut: a shallow, marshy lake northeast of the Aburros Sea, in the Nurret Steppes. It's an island-studded maze the size of Belgium, in need of a good topologist to straighten it out. Its feeder streams are the source of the great Kidas River.
- Thron Shore, Tholus, Forest: the Thron Shore is the northeast coast of the Aburros Sea. A thick conifer strip stretches 3000 km inland: Thron Wood. The only breaks in the dark canopy are Lake Kidas, over 500 km long, and Thron Tholus, a volcano 7 km high near the coast, an island of tundra in the somber pine sea. South of the long Sa Rethen River, the Thron Shore resembles northern France: broadleaf trees and occasional meadows appear.
- Thuas Shore: the cool green southwest coast of the Eamet Ocean. Winters can be snowy here; Thuas is seasonal hardwood forest like New England. Thuas Island, 800 km long, has similar lowlands but rises to dark evergreen forests and glaciated peaks. In the far north, the Shore ends at subtropical Cape Tsethuas; here the mild marine climate allows a much lusher perennial hardwood mix approaching rainforest.
- Trats Zee: a small landlocked northern sea set in bog and tundra between similar Sherf Zee and the much larger Ice Sea, north of the Murd Range. The Trats Basin south of the sea, between arms of the Murds, has a harsh climate, but is at least thinly wooded. The south end around Lake Trats is almost livable.
- The Trio: a 500-km triangle of volcanic peaks 6.5-7.5 km high (21-25,000') dominating the southern Yanneba Plano, and linking the great plateau to the Mosnoll and Rased Ranges to the south. From north to south: Mt Navoks, Mt Lipert, and Mt Chazeg. All three are visible from central Mt Lipert.
- Tsethuas Peninsula and Islands: Cape Tsethuas is a blunt wedge sticking into the western Eamet Ocean just south of Nusheb Bay. It's mostly rich broadleaf woods broken only by a few meadows; rainy, with muggy summers and cool but mostly frost-free winters, like Carolina or southern Japan. Offshore is Tsethuas Island, the largest in the world, as big as our Borneo. The lessesr Tsethuas Islands stretch across the ocean to Cape Leas, a chain of narrow isles no bigger than Crete or Sicily. Oh--Tsethuas is pronounced rather like "teeth was" and really should be spelled Tsiithwass or Tsythwass, but I was hasty in transliterating and now we're stuck... like poor old Yucatan (="Huh?")
- Tseu, Tseo: Tseu is a sea much like our Caspian, east of the South Aburros Sea. The mountains between the two, on Tseu Neck, are as high as the Caucasus, so Tseu can't drain into the Aburros. The mountains block storms, too, so Tseu is 50 meters lower than Aburros. But it's no Dead Sea--while briny, Tseu is full of life, and big enough to generate its own rain. The surrounding ranges are pine-clad, while the shores are mixed savanna. Tseu, by the way, is pronounced rather like an upper-class Englishwoman saying "It's so." It could almost be spelled Tseo, and usually is in the south, around Cape Tseo, a chain of volcanic tholi rising 6 km above the sea.
- Tsomrettu: a lonely island 700 km long and only 150 wide; the largest of the eastern Tsethuas Islands, in the southern Eamet Ocean. A rugged ridge of pine forest, cool and windy.
- Tsud Desert: a near-Martian desert spanning half the southern hemisphere, some 45 million square km (18 million sq mi, as big as Eurasia), or one-eighth of Serrana's surface. It fades into Sahelian dry veldt at its fringes. The Tsud has its good side: Serrana's shallow little cut-off seas teem with life, because the Tsud dumps far more nutrient-laden dust into them than the Sahara drops into our seas.
- Tundra Bay: a tongue of the eastern Eamet Ocean over 2000 km long and 1500 wide, south of Cape Leas. To the south is only the tundra and sea ice surrounding the South Polar Cap. To the north is Leas Neck, a cool but fertile strip between the Eamet and the Leas Sea beyond.
- Lake Turesh: A mountain lake 400 km long and up to 100 wide (250 by 65 mi), on the northeast Rakach Plano, 4 km up (13,000'). Many of these alpine basins form salt lakes, like Tibet's, but Turesh is freshwater, draining to a salt marsh on the Bavor Steppe to the north. To the west is a near-twin of Turesh, Lake Nebesh; to the south, even larger Lake Nuar.
- Tutitsni Basin: the Tutitsni/Baragv Rivers are the longest river system on Serrana, some 5500 km, and they drain the largest basin. The Baragv's source is the glaciers of Mt Sitim, highest peak of the Ytrebil Range, east of the Narek Sea. The Baragv drops into canyons in a semi-arid plain, which widens and greens to the south until it's a lush veldt with riverine woods. The groves thicken until they're unbroken forest, around the confluence of the Tutitsni, which waters an additional 2-3M sq km (1M sq mi) of mixed savanna and open forest. The Tutitsni then flows west 2000 more km, through the biggest rainforest on Serrana, to end in a branching Amazonian delta, below snowy Ytrebil Tholus.
- Woble Island: The largest island in the Aburros Sea, over 1000 km long. Woble is shaped like a fork, studded with shield volcanoes, and smothered in rainforest. It's part of the Woble Range, as it wades through the equatorial Ramig Gulf. Incidentally, the "e" is voiced, so it sounds more like Wobbly than Noble (fitting for an anarchist planet, yes?) It means knee or knee-cap, a reference to the rounded look of the shield volcanoes.
- Woble Sink: a seasonal lake northeast of the Woble Range, in the Tsud Desert. Fed by snowmelt off the high volcanoes of the range, it's a vital waterhole for millions of creatures in the northern desert.
- Woble Volcanoes: A range of huge shield volcanoes south of the Aburros Sea. Woble Tholus is over 12 km high (40,000'), the highest in the world. Half a dozen others reach 6-8 km; they form ecological islands of forest and meadow in the Tsud Desert.
- Yanneba Basin, Hills, and Plano: in Le Guin's THE DISPOSSESSED, Abbenay was the Eden of Anarres and the site of the capital. My calculations show that this plain (on both the original Anarres and on my revision, Serrana) would not be green: this latitude is much drier than the regions to the south. Still, the upper Yanneba may be hot and dry, but it's watered by many rivers from the high Sa Rethen peaks to the north--a bit like inland California. Downriver is indeed milder and greener. The huge Yanneba Delta is quite subtropical--an Everglades? Upriver, on the other hand, is a big surprise. The river climbs abruptly to a plateau 4 km high, and this cool, windy alpine steppe does closely resemble Le Guin's original description of Abbenay--just 12,000 feet higher! Serrana's geology does require some such uplands. So why not here? It's the best solution I can manage...
- Yelav Narg Desert, Basin and River: a long, east-flowing river in the far south, draining the steppes and tundra between the Reppok Range and the South Polar Cap. The west end is desert, the middle reach is steppe, but the last third flows through dark, dense pine and spruce woods.
- Yendik R., Mt. Yendik: The Yendik's the largest river in western Ynomrah (the north shore of the Eamet Ocean). The coastal plain is monsoon forest, thinning slowly inland to savanna at the feet of the Sa Rethen Mts, which are at their climax here: Mt Yendik is the second highest peak on Serrana, just over 11 km (36,000 ft). Over the range, 4 km up on the grassy Rakach Plano, lies chill Lake Yendik, 600 km long.
- Ynlor Peninsula: in Ursula Le Guin's original Anarres, Rolny was a dreary sand-spit, quite uninhabited. But location is destiny: equatorial Rolny/Ynlor Peninsula would almost certainly be a lush rainforest, more like Sri Lanka than Australia. Indeed, Ynlor is further south and thus a bit rainier than south India. The central hills and southern tip, especially, are lush year-round; but even the driest parts, the Ynlor Basin in the northwest and Yendik Basin in the northeast, are monsoon grasslands, not deserts. The Birut Islands, southwest of the cape, are low and rainforested; the largest is 200 km long.
- Ynlor Shield is the second-largest of the Ynomrah Islands. Southeast of Rekvat, off Ynlor Peninsula, this Hawaiian-style volcano rises 6500 m (21,400'), forming an island the size of Taiwan--a bullseye of climate zones, from steamy rainforest through cool cloudforests to alpine meadows and glaciers (Serrana's orbital seasons prevent a high-altitude desert as on Terran tropical volcanoes). The volcano's no bigger than Maui, really, but it's just ankle-deep in the shallow Eamet.
- Ynomrah Shore (sounds more like "eat 'em raw" than "in gnome raw"): The long north shore of the Eamet Ocean. In the west near Cape Ynlor the coast is green, but in the east, and inland everywhere, Ynomrah thins out to savanna and treeless veldt stretching north 1000 km to the Sa Rethen Mts. The milky, glacier-fed Ynomrah River drains the central plain; the Yendik drains the west. Much of the coast is shallow lagoons behind sandy barrier islands.
- Ynomrah Islands in the northern Eamet Ocean extend from Cape Ynlor to Cape Rapip, 3000 km northeast. Rekvat, the largest, is an equatorial rainforest the size of California with an east-west spine of volcanoes up to 5000 m high (16,000'). Ynlor Shield, to the south, is a volcano 6500 m high (21,400') forming an island the size of Taiwan--a bullseye of climate zones, from steamy rainforest up to glaciers. In the north, Irukuk resembles Bali, but drier; long Ynomrah is like a north-south Crete.
- Ytrebil: The largest and driest northern desert, northeast of Eamet Ocean. Rains from the Narek Sea are cut off by the Ytrebil Range (highest peak: Mt Sitim); from the north, by spurs of the Murd and Trats Ranges; from the east, by the Ninellam Hills; and from Ytrebil Bay, a triangular tongue of the Eamet Ocean to the south, by a high-pressure zone hovering around thirty north. But the high ranges forming the basin do feed snowmelt into the many-branched Ytrebil River. Its upper valleys form an oasis as fertile as the Nile. The lower reaches flow through increasingly lush savanna. Near its mouth stands Ytrebil Tholus, six km high; one of the few large volcanoes bordering the Eamet Ocean.
- BASIN = any lowland between the major dividing ranges, even if several rivers drain it. Since Serrana's land is continuous, BASIN, SHORE and NECK are the basic divisions, not continents.
- CALDERA = a wide volcanic crater. Serrana has more of them than Earth. Many have overlapping vents, so various cliff-walled pits of different depths combine into complex shapes.
- CHASM, CHASMA = a rift-valley where crust wells up and spreads. Usually a winding groove flanked by twin ridges. Serrana's rifts are more broken up than Earth's, more like Venus's, suggesting complex, fragmented convection patterns due to the fast spin and hotter mantle. For example, two rifts are either forking heavily or even crossing on Leas Neck, a phenomenon unthinkable on Earth. Compare to: TRENCH.
- CORONA: a round or oval blister, sometimes bulging, sometimes sagging, sometimes popped--usually with concentric ridges and rifts. Coronas are big--from 100 to 1000+ km across. Unknown on Earth, ubiquitous on Venus, rare but probably present on Serrana--Anigvess Island, Cape Nirit and the Corona Hills, Pedess Basin, Ninellam Bay, and Ramig Sound may be coronas. They're probably upwellings from the mantle, but just possibly down-wellings that pull surface stuff together, or a small, rotating buffer zone between larger shifting plates--a sort of bearing to reduce friction.
- LAKE = a freshwater body no matter how big. Serrana has lakes larger than any on Earth, which we'd probably call seas, but drinkability is the criterion for a lake on Serrana. Small salt and alkaline bodies of water are called ZEES.
- NECK = an isthmus or strip of land, usually fertile, between two of the many isolated seas on Serrana. One of the commonest terms used to divide the continentless surface. See also SHORE, BASIN.
- OCEAN = used only for the Eamet, some 75 million square km in area (as big as the Atlantic or Indian Ocean), holding two-thirds of Serrana's water by volume, and sixty percent by area. See SEA, LAKE, ZEE
- PLANO = a mountain-edged plateau 3-4 km (10-13,000 ft) high. On Serrana, most dry land is geologically indistinguishable from seabottom (under surface sediments, at least): most of the land's basaltic, like Terran ocean-basins. But the planos are light granitic rock, analogous to Earth's continents, just much smaller--only a few percent of the surface. At high latitudes the planos are barren, in mid-latitudes they're tundra, but nearer the equator planos are cool but fertile steppes--ecological islands above the deserts.
- RIFT = CHASMA (see)
- SAVANNA = a patchwork of woods and grassland, or open woods with dry grass between trees. The dictionary definition of savanna is just "tropical grassland", but popular usage suggests scattered trees, and I use it as such for lack of a better word. For truly treeless tropical grasslands I use the unambiguous VELDT.
- SEA = a mid-sized body of salt water. As small as the Mediterranean up to half an Atlantic (that is, from about 1-12 million sq. mi. or 3-30 million sq. km.). Serrana has five isolated seas in this range--Aburros, Narek, Leas, Niirg, and Ice, the last half-choked by you-know-what. See OCEAN, LAKE, ZEE.
- SHIELD = a low, broad volcano like Hawaii's. Some are huge; a few rival those on Mars.
- SHORE = a strip, usually fertile, bounded by a desert or mountain range inland, along one of the isolated oceans or seas. Used when BASIN or NECK are inapplicable. Serrana's land divides into shores as naturally as Earth divides into continents and islands.
- STEPPE = a grassland with snowy winters, but thawing fully in summer. See VELDT, TUNDRA
- THOLUS (plural: THOLI) = a steep conical volcano like Fuji, though often much larger on Serrana.
- TRENCH = a valley where one tectonic plate slips beneath another. At such spots the crust is contracting. Contrasts with CHASMA or RIFT--a groove where new crust is spreading. Surprisingly, maps of Serrana show few obvious trenches. With its active tectonics, you'd expect to find trenches parallel to many mountain ranges where subduction's going on, as along Terran coastal ranges and island arcs. The trouble is, on Serrana, subduction zones are nearly all on land, not undersea. Erosion from the nearby mountains tends to fill them in, leaving a low plain or at most a chain of sinks and lakes, like north of Rakach Plano.
I admit that's disengenuous; if I were building Serrana from scratch, I'd have added far more long, narrow, arcuate little seas. But Le Guin didn't, for her Anarres was old and tired, as Mars was then believed to be, without fast-moving Earthlike plates--no high mountains, no rifts, no trenches, no volcanoes. Yet she mentions earthquakes frequently, suggesting plenty of crustal movement, and with the tidal stresses on Anarres, there SHOULD be--but then, that wasn't well understood thirty years ago, when she created Anarres in THE DISPOSSESSED. I've done the best I could to update within the limits of her basic geography; valleys like Binchun and seas like Tseu are meant to suggest broken-up filled-in trenches. But Serrana's a tribute, a cover song--I can bend the notes, but not throw out the tune!
- TUNDRA = cold grassland thawing only at the surface. Wide tundra zones fringe both polar caps.
- VELDT = warm, dry grassland; see STEPPE, TUNDRA. Away from the seas, much of Serrana is veldt or desert. SAVANNA as used here is not a synonym: it designates grasslands with scattered trees or wooded patches or riverine strips; mixed country.
- ZEE = a miniature sea--any undrinkable body of water (salt or alkaline) under a million square km in area. Serrana has half a dozen large zees, some as big as the Caspian, some the Aral Sea, some little more than huge saltpans.
Since Serrana's a tribute to Anarres, the Marslike anarchist world in Ursula Le Guin's brilliant The Dispossessed, I've preserved its place names as well as I could--just reversed them. Anarres becomes Serrana, and so on. Single sounds like th, sh, and ch stay the same; that includes gv and kv, which are single consonants in Pravic, her anarchists' language. A few short phrases are elided or run together: Ans Hos became Soh Sna but promptly wore down to Sosna; Peace-and-Plenty became Intelp na Seep. Place names in the book are few, so once I ran out, I tried to name features for appropriate characters in the books: you'll notice Rulag is still cold, Gvarab still gets overlooked, and the palindromic Bunub never shuts up. (Didn't say I succeeded. Said I tried)
Why backward names? Well, I wanted to refer identifiably to Le Guin's names on Anarres, yet not steal them, and because, well, English sounds so pleasantly alien, backward. Woble, Murd, Yendik, Trats, Sherf! And that alienness is needed. On her Anarres, the names are of two sorts:
Anyway, name-reversal felt like an elegant solution, preserving while estranging. And isn't estrangement one of the cardinal virtues? (Of science fiction, anyway.) Besides, Le Guin's first ambiguous utopia, the seed, I think, for Anarres, was "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"--a short tale inspired by reading "Salem, Oregon" backwards on a roadsign. If she can do it...
- Pravic words like Abbenay ("mind"), plus a few non-Pravic placenames inherited from telescopic astronomers on the Old World, like Ans Hos and the Ne Theras.
- simple descriptive placenames translated into English--Fresh Start, Wide Plains, Liberty--names natural for colonists, outsiders settling a land they see as a mere backdrop to their brave new society. But utterly wrong for nonhuman natives deeply tied to the land! (The only place I've indulged in such simple descriptive names is to label my alien species, for clarity--certainly they don't call themselves raptors and treesquid!)
Vowels are roughly Spanish (Leas is "LEH-as" not "Leez") except ee and oo, as in feet and boot. "Y" as an initial vowel and "ii" also indicate the long "ee" sound. Eu is rather like eo, not the French eu. Er is "air" not "er..." Initial ng is the sound in "singer" not "finger." If you can't say it, n will do quite well. Double vowels or double consonants after a vowel, like "arr", mark a strong syllable; otherwise, stress the penultimate syllable. Remember that kv and gv are single consonants in Pravic, like English x or Greek ps.
TOUR SERRANA! Click a region for a detailed ground-level tour:
Aburros Sea -
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Mosnoll and Eronit Basins -
The Tsud Desert -
Eamet Ocean and South Pole -
Leas, Niirg, and Narek: The Lesser Seas -
The Rakach Plateau and the Northlands
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