Hephaestian Type

Just as the god Hephaestus worked with fire, so do these worlds exist in fire.  Surfaces roil and shift under continent-wide seas of molten rock, great volcanoes erupt liquid sulphur and  silicates, and the entire surface is so ephemeral that weather reports may as well be replaced by geology reports.

Principally, these worlds come in two types, and their natures are determined by their physical surroundings.  One form, and perhaps the more common, is that determined largely by age.  As worlds accrete, their surfaces are heated and melted by the constant rain of massive impacts that contribute to planetary growth, some of them large enough to completely resurface the entire planet.  Transient atmospheres develop during this stage of formation as well, often largely composed of carbon dioxide and sulphuric compounds.  But the massive impacts tend to erode the atmospheres just as fast as they form.  Only much later, as the era of heavy bombardment comes to an end will the true primordial atmosphere establish itself.

The second and more familiar type of Hephaestian world is formed through tidal flexing of such a degree that the planets are literally turned inside out.  While the surfaces of these planets are not necessarily entirely molten, and indeed some major and long term landforms can evolve, they are still pliable enough so that impact craters, mountains, and other features will be erased or reformed within a few thousand years.  The tidal flexing itself is caused by the planet literally being pulled in two different directions by other massive companions, such as large moons or even companion planets.

Life on these worlds, in the conventional sense, is highly unlikely, bordering on the impossible.  Their atmospheres, typically sulphuric, rich in sodium, tend to be as transient as their young cousins.  However, the more massive the body, the thicker the atmosphere may become.  Some of these worlds have atmospheres that rival or even exceed Cytherean Type atmospheres.

Completely molten, wracked with the pains of birth, many Hephaestian worlds reflect the violence of creation.

A world tortured by the ravages of gravity.  Io, located in the Sol System, and a moon of the EuJovian world Jupiter, is the archetypical example of this particular type of Hephaestian world.

Quick Facts

Kuiperians of Note:  Io is a world caught in an eternal tug of war between Jupiter, and the other major Galilean moons.


Return to the PCL Index Page
Return to the ArcBuilder Universe Index
Return to Explorations

Questions and Comments?  Email Me  

ArcBuilder Universe concept John M. and Margo L. Dollan 2002-2004
This Page first uploaded May 4, 2004
Most recent update for this page May 4, 2004