CPASian Chris Ingles revolutionises Middle-earth geology

Ingles & Orthia 2016 Middle-earth mapFor fifty years fans of¬†Lord of the Rings¬†have struggled to¬†make sense of the geology of the world depicted in Tolkien’s work – Middle-earth – in terms of contemporary¬†earth science.

But according to CPAS graduate Chris Ingles – a former earth science and science communication student – they never got it right. Until now.

Chris completed a sci com research project in 2014 re-analysing the geological evidence about Middle-earth from the Lord of the Rings books to better understand the geological history of that world.

What he found challenged the prevailing literature on this topic. In particular, lots of previous writers¬†hypothesised the role of plate tectonics in forming Middle-earth’s many mountain ranges. But Chris used cutting edge geological theory alongside new literary evidence to show this would¬†not be possible.

Here we present Chris’s paradigm-challenging paper, co-authored with supervisor Lindy Orthia.

To cite this work: Ingles C. and Orthia L.A. (2016) A New Synthesis on the Geology of Middle-earth: Genesis, Orogeny and Tectonics. Canberra: Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, The Australian National University.

Ingles & Orthia 2016 Middle-earth geology

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