Strange Rock Formation: Giant’s Causeway of Ireland
the odd rock and earth formations in the world is the Giant’s Causeway, a strange area of about 40,000 interlocking
basalt columns located on the extreme northeast coast of Northern Ireland near the town of Bushmills.
columns are so perfectly formed, most of them shaped like hexagons on the ends, but they stand up to 36 feet in height. Others
are square while a few have five, seven and even eight sides. The tops are level in places but then form stepping stones that
lead from the foot of a rock cliff down into the sea.
native legend has it that the columns were put there by Finn McCool, a giant of a man and Irish warrior, who built the causeway
to walk to Scotland. There McCool wanted to do battle with Benandonner, his Scottish counterpart. Somehow, Benandonner got
to the causeway first and came to Ireland looking for Finn. When Finn saw the giant coming for him he asked his wife Oonagh
to disguise him as her baby. When Benandonner saw the size of the “infant” wrapped in a blanket, he assumed Finn
must be gigantic, and fled home in terror. On his way he ripped up most of the causeway so Finn could not follow.
was one of several tall Irish tales attempting to explain the origin of these unique rock formations.
geologists, however, have taken all of the fun out of the stories. They say they believe the odd formations were the result
of intense volcanic activity about 50 to 60 million years ago. They say highly fluid molten basalt was pushed upward through
chalk beds to form a lava plateau comprised of these columns. The division into separate columns was caused by the fracturing
of the cooling basalt.
geologists have a lot of big words to further explain what occurred there but we get the picture. The hot planet was busy
manufacturing amazing artistic designs that would keep humans entertained once we arrived.
Giant’s Causeway is declared a World Heritage Site and a National Nature Reserve by Northern Ireland’s Department
of the Environment. A poll of Radio Times readers in 2005 named the causeway as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the
say the causeway is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.