Sparse Reef Theories on Sparseness

pie1055pie1055 Members Join Date: 2016-12-05 Member: 224603Posts: 133 Advanced user
Hello all, pie here! Been playing Subnautica for a little over a year and I'd thought to drop in on the forums and say hello =)

Anyways I did some searching and I haven't found any threads directly talking about the conditions of the sparse reef biome and of the theories I've seen here, the wiki, steam forums, youtube comments, and elsewhere I've rarely seen my take on the lack of biodiversity in this location. I've heard (whether or not it is true) that the Sparse Reef is the way it is because the devs created it as a 'filler' biome. While a biome with the defining characteristic of being bland is worthy in its own right it's always fun to speculate why that may be the case. Go ahead and add your own theories if you like. I've heard all sorts of ones ranging from the sparse reef being a prior sea treader feeding ground to the greenish brain coral eating other life out of the location and they were all interesting reads.

Theory: The nearby floater island was recently(in geological time) a part of the seabed located in the center of the sparse reef. The large floaters were initially located inside of the caves below and around the sparse reef. Once they congregated closely enough their lift began to overtake the weight of the seabed above.

Evidence:
  • The shape of the sparse reef largely resembles that of a crater.
  • The many spires along the north and east walls of the 'crater' are similar to the spires hanging from underneath the floater island.
  • Much of the bottom of the sparse reef contains small lumps that resemble debris, both this 'debris' and the surrounding seabed are covered in sand. The reason that this looks out of place is that the seabed would normally be smoother and if the debris were boulders that were naturally occurring there would be no sand resting on top. The sand indicates that it was particulate matter that was in suspension initially during the same time as the larger objects. The larger objects would fall faster due to their girth before the particulate matter rested down afterwords.
  • While not being directly above the sparse reef the floater island is still very close to the biome, when it could have been placed just about anywhere else on the map. Most notable is how far it is from the floating islands biome, which would seem to be much more suitable at first glance.
  • The size of the crater is slightly larger than the island(see below image). While initially a discrepancy it can be explained by large chunks of rock falling away as the island slowly rose to the surface.
  • Where would the larger debris have gone? Of note is a large mound on the southern edge of the biome that does not match the structure of the spires. Conveniently enough it is located between the crater and the current position of the floating island.
  • From the northern shallows to the bottom of the crater the difference in depth comes to roughly 170 meters. The difference in depth between the bottom of the floating island to the top comes to roughly 145 meters. This means the island would fit nicely into the surrounding geography, naturally tapering off from the shallows to the deeper grand reef to the south (it wouldn't be no blood kelp levels of drastic vertical changes).
  • The deeper areas of the sparse reef lack biodiversity and populations of organisms are small, supporting the fact that those areas were not habitable until recently.

And just to reward you for reading all of that (or skimming past it) I made a basic topographical map of the sparse reef. Lighter areas represent more shallow zones and darker areas represent deeper zones. The second map overlays the floater island above the crater, which you can note fits quite snugly into it.
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Think I'm on to something? Think I'm full of crap? Have a different theory? It's all good ;)
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Comments

  • RalijRalij USMembers Join Date: 2016-05-20 Member: 217092Posts: 602 Advanced user
    Why hello there and welcome to the forums :smile: Really like that topographic map, you pulled it off better than I could figure out before.

    I was thinking the floater island was the reason for the sparse reef, if for no other reason than it explains the spires. The only other things I can think of is perhaps that was the testing area for the carar virus and it wiped out the life there (but didn't spread...?) or perhaps that is where the degasi landed and the radiation and/or detonation of the ship poisoned/killed everything in the area. The Degasi seems like it was a smaller ship so its area of effect would be smaller than the Aurora, and at that location it explains how the crew made it to the floater island so quickly. Of course, neither of these have any real evidence so I'm going with the floater island theory.
    subnauticambrianpie1055Antonin
  • Morph_GuyMorph_Guy Members Join Date: 2016-04-21 Member: 216034Posts: 509 Advanced user
    edited December 2016
    While the spires in the Sparse Reef and the ones on the Floating Island do look similar, the spires on the Floating Island are upside down, which (if the island was once a part of the reef,) would suggest it somehow got flipped upside down after it floated up.


    0x6A7232
  • Enderguy059Enderguy059 AustraliaMembers Join Date: 2015-10-15 Member: 208486Posts: 626 Advanced user
    edited December 2016
    Morph_Guy wrote: »
    While the spires in the Sparse Reef and the ones on the Floating Island do look similar, the spires on the Floating Island are upside down, which (if the island was once a part of the reef,) would suggest it somehow got flipped upside down after it floated up.

    The spires in the Sparse reef could be stalagmites, which were created when stalactites growing from the Floater island slowly passed over (lots of things could've happened in 1000 years)
    Politics are... pretty terrible.
    I mean, they always seem to get people into fights and encourage irrational behaviour.
    I'm fine with making a compromise and sticking to the middle road, thanks.
    0x6A7232
  • JamezorgJamezorg United KingdomMembers Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Posts: 961 Advanced user
    I think we need to theorise more about this game. I love theorising, it's one of my favourite things to do whilst I play video games.

    Honestly, even if this isn't true, I'm gonna believe it is. When I was thinking of what made the biome so sparse I instantly thought "Precursors" and stayed there until now. Thanks, man :)
    I am currently writing a fantasy novel which I plan to be the beginning of a six-seven book series.
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    subnauticambrianpie1055
  • RalijRalij USMembers Join Date: 2016-05-20 Member: 217092Posts: 602 Advanced user
    The thing about the sparse reef is that it isnt sparse in animal life... despite the lack of flora is so chock full of fauna that I'm astounded by the sheer volume of fish schools, which is perplexing in itself.
    pie1055
  • pie1055pie1055 Members Join Date: 2016-12-05 Member: 224603Posts: 133 Advanced user
    I think the reason why so many people focus on the "sparseness" of the sparse reef is because the rest of the environment is so chock full of life, rather than comparing it to our own ocean. I'm willing to bet more players know more about the surrounding biomes in the game than the average amount of life per square mile in the ocean.

    In addition, the "sparseness" is what the PDA points out about the location while the game gives no explanation for it. When the PDA tells you it detects a massive energy signature in the mountains biome there is at least an answer to be found. It introduces a bit of mystery that the current canon and game gives no direct hints to.

    Lastly I think there's a notable discrepancy between a reef that is sparse opposed to it lacking biodiversity. It could be teeming with life and still be termed lacking in diversity, it would just mean most of the life is very similar.

    The missing Degasi is another interesting mystery. You would think there would be at least a PDA message noting signs of a ship having gone down in an area...
    TenebrousNovaComicalSkate
  • FluffersFluffers United StatesMembers Join Date: 2015-05-22 Member: 204749Posts: 188 Advanced user
    edited December 2016
    I'm pretty sure it's just a combination of being a breeding ground for giant floaters that form in caves and tear apart the landmass, and the fact that sea treaders apparently make a loop through there and eat up everything that grows.

    Also, as much sense as your theory makes, and as much as I'd like to think that it's the real reason why it's so sparse, why would the island still be right above where it floated up to?

    I mean I know that the real reason is because it wouldn't make much sense in the game to have a landmass moving around, and unity definitely couldn't handle something as insane as that, but lore wise, shouldn't the island just like, float away? I can't think of any reason why it would be anchored to a single location.
    TenebrousNova
  • FathomFathom EarthMembers Join Date: 2016-07-01 Member: 219405Posts: 614 Advanced user
    Fluffers wrote: »
    I can't think of any reason why it would be anchored to a single location.
    That might explain why we don't find a trace of the Degasi and some direction pointers from the PDAs are wrong from where the island is located.

  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 USMembers Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Posts: 5,270 Advanced user
    Fluffers wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure it's just a combination of being a breeding ground for giant floaters that form in caves and tear apart the landmass, and the fact that sea treaders apparently make a loop through there and eat up everything that grows.

    Also, as much sense as your theory makes, and as much as I'd like to think that it's the real reason why it's so sparse, why would the island still be right above where it floated up to?

    I mean I know that the real reason is because it wouldn't make much sense in the game to have a landmass moving around, and unity definitely couldn't handle something as insane as that, but lore wise, shouldn't the island just like, float away? I can't think of any reason why it would be anchored to a single location.

    Could be the floaters affect gravity, and after they reach a certain size they create a sort of gravity anchor? I dunno.
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