|Galactic Coordinates||(78, -405)|
|System Coordinates||(11, 5)|
|Primary Terrain:||desert, glacier|
|Rotational Period||27 standard hours |
|Orbital Period||351 local days |
|Controlled By||New Republic|
On the surface, Utapau is largely covered by a desert. This desert, however, is jotted by countless sinkholes, which penetrate the surface of the planet. These miles-deep sinkholes are the most distinguishing characteristic of the planet. Also on the surface are a number of rock formations that jag up from the ground, and a number of small forests and jungles have managed to take root, even around the ice caps. A cave near one of the poles is thought to be cursed by the natives of Utapau, who try to stay away from it. Underneath the surface of Utapau, a large, planet wide ocean exists, which is the cause of the numerous sinkholes on the surface. Inside this ocean and the sinkholes exists many of the planet’s species.
Surface water makes up only 0.9% of the planet, although most significantly, a vast subterranean ocean encircles the planet below the crust. Although extensive surface oceans once covered the planet, they leaked away to the subterranean ocean through the readily eroded crust through vast caverns that were once giant magma chambers. In turn, the erosive sea has contributed to the giant sinkholes throughout its windswept and grassy habitable areas. The resulting vast mineral deposits below the ocean are a great source of wealth for the planet.
Sinkholes on Utapau are a common geological feature that appear in areas where the rock below the surface of the land is made from substances like salt beds, limestone, carbonate rock (which is referred to as a karst landscape) that can be dissolved by ground water flowing through them. This rock can also be weakened by acidic rain. When these rocks dissolve, large spaces develop underneath until it gets too big and the land above the gap collapses. Naturally-occurring sinkholes are also created by long periods of drought, or when caves with underground streams naturally give way.
Utapau is a peaceful world that has historically attempted to remain neutral in times of galactic conflict. The sinkhole world is shared by two symbiotic near-Human races whose common ancestors settled the planet at some point after 57,000 BBY. The languid, gray-skinned Pau'ans compose only thirty percent of the planetary population but serve as the port masters, bureaucrats, and patricians of the world. The stubby, humble Utai compose the Utapaun labor class, which maintains the windmills of their sinkhole cities and serve as handlers for the native varactyl and dactillion dragonmounts.
Originally, the Pau'ans and the Utai colonists lived separate lives; the Pau'ans on the unremarkable surface, the Utai deep underground. In the 10,000-year span before the Clone Wars, the planet's climate began to change, causing stronger and stronger hyperwind storms. This forced the Pau'ans to move underground, re-establishing relations with the Utai people and adding their own, unique touch to the Utai cities. The sinkhole communities soon became a mix of Pau'an and Utai architecture, such as the form known as Ossic. These cities were built into the crevasses and rocky ledges that lined the edges of the sinkholes.
The mixed population of Utai and Pau'ans were divided into city states, with occasional border skirmishes and small wars occurring between separate sinkhole communities. However, thanks to the efforts of Utapaun nobles such as Timon Medon the various cities were brought together and Utapau was unified. To fuel the modest energy needs of the sinkhole cities, many large windmill farms were erected on the wind-blasted surface. These farms were responsible for generating over 99% of the energy consumed by the Utapaun communities.
Supposed healing elements were once discovered in the underground water lakes of Utapau; the export of this water brought Utapau into the galactic community. For millennia, a rumor has persisted that the planet was one of the birthplaces of the Jedi Order. This legend added to the planet's glamour temporarily, attracting tourists from across the galaxy. Eventually, the water was discovered to have no extraordinary powers and the business ended.