I have the morning off from grad school classes, and of course, instead of doing some of the things I need to do, I’ve been reading through a lot of wonderful geoblogs, and almost of them feature pictures of columnar basalt. But none of them have pictures of one of the most famous columnar basalt formations in the world, Fingal’s Cave! So, I figured I’d add to the conglomeration.
Fingal’s Cave is the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s ‘Hebridean Overture’, and is home to some of the most perfect basalt columns in the world. It is located on the remote, and very tiny scottish island of Staffa, off of the still tiny andÂ spiritually significant island of Iona, off the much larger but still pretty remote island of Mull off the mainland of Scotland (Which is in the UK, which is kind of an island off of Europe…). The columns formed from large basalt lava flows which cooled slowly enough to crack into the hexagonal fracture pattern that we see today. Another really famous location of columnar basalts is the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, which is probably one of the few columnar basalt formations that surpasses Fingal’s Cave in popular recognition.
For a list of more blogs with great pictures of Columnar Basalts all over the world, go to Outside the Interzone which has a great list going! Thanks to Jessica Ball’s Magma Cum Laude blog and Ryan Brown’s Twitter post for alerting me to the theme.