Monday, July 5, 2010
The High Moor
Most of the plateau is limestone. Over the centuries, water has cut through the limestone, forming a lot of ravines and canyons. Springs bubble forth out of nowhere through the limestone, and streams disappear and reappear in the ravines. Occasional waterfalls flow into short streams that disappear into deep holes. A lot of sinkholes dot the countryside, too, offering many entrances to the Underdark.
On top of the great limestone shelf of the plateau lies a thin layer of soil. This topsoil is too thin for decent farming, but just thick enough to support the growth of various grasses and shrubs in patches. At one time, there was better topsoil on the moor, but the long-ago removal of the forests allowed the earth to erode and exposed the ground to the region’s cool, damp, windy weather, which leaches nutrients from the soil. The moors are therefore mostly barren and rocky. In places where some soil has accumulated and enough water collects to support plant life, a marsh is the usual result. Few of the marshlands of the High Moor still support much life, however. Most marshes have degenerated into cold bogs clogged with peat. These soft, waterlogged strips of land are another hazard for travelers in the region.