Giant's Causeway, a spectacular lava field in Northern Ireland
Tonight, I am posting information on of the most spectacular geological features in the British Isles, namely the Giant’s Causeway on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Summary information as follows:
- Extends to 3,800 km2 site and ranks as Europe’s most extensive lava field.
- Has achieved dual status of World Heritage Site (UNESCO) and National Nature Reserve (N.I. Government).
- Location is about sixty-two miles NNW of Belfast.
- One of a number of popular visitor sites on Ireland’s north coast which collectively form part of the Causeway Coast tourist route.
- A function of volcanic activity some 60 million years ago when the Atlantic Ocean was being formed. It is believed there were three phases of basaltic lava flows separated by two periods of limited activity during which two red coloured strata were formed as a result of weathering and soil accumulation.
- The thousands of polygonal columns were formed as successive layers of lava cooled under pressure. The columns vary between 15-20 inches (38-51 cm) in diameter and up to 82 feet ( 25m) in height. The columns in the cliffs measure up to 330 feet (100m) in height.
- Geologically linked with Staffa, an island off the west coast of Scotland, a relatively short distance away.
- In mythology associated with Finn MacCool or MacCoul, a mythical hunter-warrior also occurring in the lore of Scotland and the Isle of Man.
- Designed to accommodate high volumes of visitors.There is a large Visitor Centre plus optional motor transport down to the beach for those who prefer not to undertake the 10-15 minute walk each way.