Aetheric Bouyancy Theory is the currently-held scientific explanation for the peculiar levitative properties of Terra Altan skylands. According to the theory, Celesterra is surrounded by a dense envelope of an immaterial fluid known as Aether. The closer to the core of Celesterra, the higher the pressure is in this fluid envelope and thus the greater the density, similar to how our air thins out at higher altitudes. Normal matter cannot interact with Aether under normal conditions, but the class of substances known as Noriviites (thought to have Aether "bound up" inside them) can.
In a similar manner to how light woods or bubbles of air float in the more-dense substance of water, Noriviites are bouyant in the substance of the Aetherosphere. The theory goes that the rocks and soil of Terra Altan skylands are very rich in Noriviites, thus allowing them to interact with and thus be bouyed by the Aether without apparent support. The richer the substance is with Noriviites, and the less dense it is in normal terms, the more bouyant it is and thus the stronger it is bouyed upward. However, because the Aetherosphere thins out as one progresses upwards, the Norivic rock will eventually find a zone of density equal to its own, where it will settle until it is laden down with new settlements or growth of plants, thereby causing it to sink to a lower height. The density or purity of Norivic items are usually rated in terms of the height at which they will settle.
Likewise, this Aetheric fluid can be 'excited' by the application of voltaicity, similarly to how air can be excited in a hot-air balloon by a flame. When a voltaic current is applied to Norivic rocks, their bouyancy increases measurably and their preferred float-height increases. The effect is used in many of the newer self-propelled Stoneships to obtain greater control over altitude without having to carry arround positive or negative ballast or dealing with the inflation and deflation of gas cells.
The Shadowlands also contain some deposits of Norivic minerals. During magnetic storms and floatquakes, the ground can be seen to rise visibly or even tear itself into the sky, where it will form a new part of Terra Alta.
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