Monday, August 3, 2009

day 57, Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Look, guys, down there....there is the Giant's Causeway.

My friend, Siobhan, told me that this area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns located on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a National Nature Reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.

Geological studies of these formations over the last 300 years have greatly contributed to the development of the earth sciences, and show that this striking landscape was caused by volcanic activity during the Tertiary, some 50–60 million years ago........this the world's most spectacular example of what can happen when volcanic lava cools slowly.....40 000 geometric columns set together in a honeycomb pattern ....making a unique stairway down to the sea....

The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea.
Yes, most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven and eight sides.
The tallest are about 12 metres (36 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres thick in places.

The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.... hmm, Nopi and I prefer that idea....sounds more romantic....

From up here, it does indeed resemble a pathway along 900ft of the coastline and projecting as far as 500 ft northwards into the Atlantic maybe Finn MacCool and Finn Gall did exist ;-)

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