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Monday, November 2nd, 2015 07:25 pm

If they’re near a sun at any point, they probably have some degree of tidal heating, which will definitely cause things to move around. I’d guess the Well/Primus’s spark/whatever’s at the core (I think there’s something down there in most continuities) is keeping the planet warm enough for life to exist, because in most continuities it doesn’t actually have a sun. Tectonic motion (earthquakes, mountains, canyons) is still possible, but probably not from the same source as Earth. Tidal and metal heating from passing suns or other heat sources can give it volcanoes (which can form mountains) and something like tectonic motion, but probably not tectonic motion in the usual sense.

Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about the internal workings of Cybertron to be able to tell exactly how it works geologically. From the usual depiction, with the visible mechanical innards, plate tectonics are probably possible, but they’d have to work very differently from how Earth’s do: instead of essentially floating on magma like pieces of paper float on water, they’d have to shift around on a set of mechanical levers, pulleys, and other such things. (This would probably make Cybertronian geology an extremely different field from Earth geology, because it implies that the motion is controlled by some entity.) Earthquakes would still happen when the plates caught against each other, like on Earth. This would also explain the giant gaps in Cybertron’s crust - the fragments of crust shift around, but there’s not enough to cover the whole planet.

Metal expanding and contracting with heat is similar to tidal heating. Cybertron would probably be divided into lots of (relatively) small plates that could expand to fill in gaps and create a fairly intact surface when the planet was warm, or contract to leave gaps between the plates and deep canyons when it was cold. (Alternately, it would have an intact surface all the time, until it got close to a star for the first time and created mountains from the plates running into each other. These would then turn into mountain ranges with giant canyons through them when Cybertron moved away from the star and cooled.) Earthquakes would actually still be possible in this, but they would be rare.