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Earthquakes in Skyrim: Falkreath to Markarth

So, there seems to be an interesting event that one can encounter in Skyrim. When I first encountered the Skyrim earthquakes I was on my… errr… fourth playthrough? I think… Nyvere Teine the Nord thief… Tristan the Nord fighter… Ktah the Khajiit fighter… Tristan the Grey Warden (Yes, my Dragon Age character went off exploring after I finished Dragon Age: Origins 😉 )… and now Gawain Firecloak the Drow (Dunmer) wanderer Companion… So, yeah, this is my fifth game run-through on Skyrim and I am STILL finding new things in the game.

Earthquakes.

When I first encountered this tremor and ground shake I was leaving the new Companion Hall in Falkreath (I turned Lakeview Manor into a second hall for the Companions to hang out at with Vilkas as the house Steward)… anyway, Vilkas and Gawain were on their way toward Markarth when my PS3 controller nearly shook itself out of my hands and there was a low tone of rumbling noise on the speakers. Being the seasoned adventurer I am I freaked out and ducked into a crouch and looked fearfully to the sky for the dragon I knew was swooping down at me… then I realized that I had not yet collected the dragon stone, so the dragons were not yet waking up. That made me ponder the situation again and I looked around for a giant or anything else to explain the event. Nothing. Okay… walk on. Perhaps twenty feet later I once again feel the controller shake, trying to throw itself out of my hands, and there is a low rumble on the speakers. Stop, drop, roll… you know the drill. Yet… no fire breathing dragons… or anything else of a threatening nature.

Weird. Weird enough that I went to the other end of the house to ask my regular gaming partner, who has earned Platinum on Skyrim trophies, if they ever had that happen. Their first response was “dragon”. I told them I had not yet kicked the dragon nest. “Giant.” Again, no. So they said it was just a glitch and ignore it or restart from an earlier save. I preferred to think it was an earthquake.

A little while ago, still working my way toward Markarth and the gold mines in the area (I want an enchanters table, dangit!), I encountered the earthquake once again, just outside of Volskygge. There were about three or four earthquakes in about as many minutes. Still, no giants, dragons not awake, and while there was rain, there is no lightning so it is not a thunder effect.

I went looking, but all of the message boards either have people looking for explanations for this odd event, or people claiming it is a glitch or just a myth that does not really happen. I do not accept that. Nor do I accept there is no definitive answer to this event.

Some say earthquakes are part of the Dawnguard DLC, some .. many actually, say that they are a myth or that those who encounter them are mistaking dragons or giants for this weirdness. I have encountered dragons (and have only awakened them on two play-throughs and this is not one of those), I have also encountered giants… this is nothing I have encountered and the only explanation so far is earthquake.

I am still looking for a definitive answer, but for my own gaming experience I am going to assume that the people who can make Aurora Borealis that makes an Alaskan go “ohhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!” has the capability to make random earthquakes in a northern region of the known world.

25 comments to Earthquakes in Skyrim: Falkreath to Markarth

  • Genevieve

    Yeah, this happens to me to -several times. At first I was like ‘what the heck!?! Do I have some special game or something?’ But then I thought that was stupid and decided to investigate! Since I was near a forsworn camp I thought they were doing some weird voodoo magic, so I went and scoped the place. Wasted my time and all my health potions. I really, really dislike the forsworn… Cleared out their den, a MASSIVE fort may I add, took me forever. Annnndd nothing unusual. So I did as you did and look around for giants, nope. Also my character hasn’t retrieved the Dragonstone so their were no dragons flapping about. Nor do I have the Dawngaurd add on 🙁 boohoo, I’m saving up though… My guess is that its just a weird astronomical earthquake anomaly. ;___;

    • admin

      I think I have it sorted out. In the area where the quakes occurred the most frequently for me was right near the dwemer ruins of Arkngthamz. This place has a lot of seismic activity as part of the story-line, and starts the quest Lost To The Ages. I went following the seismic activity and the ruins where were it seemed to be the most active. So I am 98.9% certain these are intended to lead the player to the ruins where this quest starts out. I am not off on the Lost To The Ages quest searching for the third of the Aetherium pieces and then will go find the Aetherium Forge.

  • burntogold

    I had it happen in the middle of Broken Tower Redoubt – indoors! Completely disproving any outdoor creature theory! – but it was after I’d started the Arkngthamz quest. Broken Tower Redoubt isn’t exactly close though.

  • Kardyn

    Basically it is a written in part of the game that occurs in certain underground areas and around a few dwemmer ruins. Not sure if you can access it without, but once you have the dawnguard dlc you can do the aetharium wars quests which help explain the earthquakes, possible SPOILER but once inside you meet a certain individual who explains the quakes are caused by a dwemmer trap being fired off many years earlier. Other than that I have encountered a few other dungeons that entail minor quakes or dust falling from the ceiling, etc. As far as I know, the quakes only shake the screen/controller though and no actual rifts or crevices ever open up from them

  • Selice

    I encounterd my first Earthquake after finishing the main Dawngaurd DLC quest. It is SO funny the way you described your initial response! I did the same exact thing! It seems to happen in spurts when in that area around Markarth, even when I fast travel back from Whiterun, or anywhere else, to that erea again.
    You are not imagining it, I believe.

    • admin

      Yeah. I think this is part of the Lost to the Ages quest that leads you to the Aetherium Forge. It is the only really solid explanation I have for it so far. I still have not finished the playthru on that quest to find out if the earthquakes stopped once the quest was finished, but I like the quakes, so will probably leave the quest alone in future playthrus.

  • Peter File

    I just encountered one of these, and decided to look it up…

    Although strangely, I had it happen in my home in Riften???

    Was extremely confused, particularly considering my house carl just sat there drinking mead…

    I’ve got all DLC, however I’ve not even touched anything Dawnguard related, bar hearing the recruitment propaganda, and it was minutes after *potential spoiler* defeating Miraak.

    • Joker961

      I also had a weird earthquake. After defeating Miraak, I returned to Windhelm to store some trophies. While messing with a chest of loot, the earth shook and there was a rumbling sound, like when the Greybeards called, but with no voice.

  • katherine salomonsen

    just happened to me between fort kastav and mount anthor, where there were a bunch of refugees that were killed…

  • AllysonWonderland

    I just had it happen twice outside of Arkngthamz and had to Google it. It’s part of the quest of that ruin. A ghost inside warns you of the earthquakes. I was fooled at first thinking it was a dragon, but it lasted longer the dragons/mammoths/giants do, so I got curious. I think it’s happened to me before, but I just didn’t realize it.

  • Bob

    I had this “earthquake” happen in my game while walking from Whiterun to Markarth. I, too, thought it was either a dragon or giant, but it happened twice just a few minutes apart with nothing in sight. Besides that, I should add that I completed Lost to the Ages WAY before hand, so it is possibly NOT connected to that questline. Weirdly enough, after walking a bit further I actually came across Taron Dreth.

  • tim

    I was just putting books on a bookshelf and right when i exited my bookshelf i had an earthquake. I have not really went into much of the dwemer locations and i don’t know what quest it is but please not that i was in breezehome at the time so no dragons/giants could have been there. I do have the dawnguard expansion.

  • hailly341

    im walking will the other cat ppl & the earthquake started. i thought it was real!

  • Jessica

    This happened to me about a year ago. I was currently in Markarth doing this murder quest or something. It happened when I was in a house. I was freaking out! So I tried to go back a save and the screen was still shaking. After that incident, I never layed a foot in Markarth, well, maybe once or twice for quests. When ever the ‘earthquake happened I kept thinking that itight go on forever and so I also think, if this keeps going on like this, I’ll never be able to shoot an arrow right again! ;D

    And just right now, this very instant that I am typing this, I have this earthquake again ;(
    I haven’t started the Lost to the Ages quest and I have all the dlc but when I first encountered this earthqueake, I didn’t have the dlc so I don’t think it’s the dlc. Someone please find the answer to this so called myth asap!

  • Darin

    I JUST had this ‘quake’ happen. I’m literally in between Falkreath & Markarth. I googled it to see if anyone knows anything about it.
    (Xbox 360, I have all DLC, and I was doing the “Mourning Never Comes” quest.)

  • I’m getting them like crazy D: Freakin me out man!

  • Aether

    Help mine won’t stop.

  • FreeMau

    duse its happening to me as well just outside the dwemer ruins of Arkngthamz, what is this?

  • Douglas Kroger

    It was like that with me when I fast traveled to Dushnikh Yal (the Orc Stronghold) I went on my horse and was on the path that leads to Arkngthamz and that’s when I was like the hell, and the earthquake thing started to happen. So it is a possibility that is is a earthquake coming from somewhere near maybe.

    • admin

      Yeah, the earthquakes are a part of the Lost to the Ages quest, that leads you to the Aetherium Forge,which starts in Arkngthamz. They will continue in that area as a way to guide you to the dungeon until you complete it.

  • Jacob T

    I have the vanilla version brand new character trying to complete map before I do any quests and on the way lvling up some skills to pass the time. I was in the gorge area of the rift just past Fort Sunguard I think, just killing some wolves and it quaked. Only quests I had accumulated were join imps or join cloaks and the talk to Alvor in Riverwood… I’ve made loads of characters had many play throughs first time I experienced it. Very odd so I googled and found this.

  • pavlove

    I was in dragonsreach (long after I beat the main quest line) and there was all I can describe as an earthquake. My controller and the screen shook? lmao idk that’d be cool if there were quakes but I’ve been playing this damn game for years.

    • admin

      Yeah, it was a definite trip the first time I experienced it. I was sure it was a dragon or a giant or… something, was trying to look around everywhere at once and see where the danger was coming from. It seems connected to the Aetherium Forge quest though, at least that is best I have tracked down for it so far.

  • Shaz

    I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of stuff. It definitely happens near dwemer ruins more than anywhere else (I’ve been marking it down. I’m such a dork) but did y’all know there’s a dragon underground in Blackreach? I’m thinking a few of theses quakes are down to that guy

  • N1Gh7W01F7

    Lol! I thought for a min there was a chest capacity in whiterun xD but guess it could be the Aetherium Forge quest calling…

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