The Giant’s Causeway is a geological wonder located in northeastern Ireland. According to experts from the Northern Ireland Guide, it is made from volcanic activity between 50 and 60 million years ago, during the tertiary period, that later cooled and cracked (McGarry). The Giant’s Causeway is on the northeastern coast of Ireland that borders the Atlantic Ocean. At one time the area was believed to be a mound shape, but the water from the ocean got between some of the cooled lava making the pillars. After time the water from the ocean and the naturally occurring ocean breeze eroded the areas between the pillars even more, making the crevices between the pillars wider and deeper.
There are roughly 40,000 pillars, some of which can reach up to 39 feet in height. For the most part, they are hexagonal shaped, but some have as few as four sides and as many as eight sides. There is no answer to the question of why and how all of the pillars are between four and eight sided, and how none of them are connected (McGarry). All that is known is that there are many columns that make for a great tourist attraction as well as many stories that can be thought of about the origin of this masterpiece made by Mother Nature.
All of the columns are made of Basalt. According to the Stone Store, experts on rock formation and different kinds of stone, Basalt is made from cooled lava that is tens of millions of years old. The color originally starts as black, but after millions of years of weathering and erosion, the colors can change like they did on the Giant’s Causeway (Basalt Columns). This is a great piece of evidence about the natural formation of the Giant’s Causeway.
There are also many myths about the formation of the Giant’s Causeway. The most popular myth is that Finn McCool, an Irish giant, heard Scottish soldiers yelling insults across the channel. Finn began to throw pieces of earth into the ocean so that he could make a bridge to Scotland. After completing the bridge, he grew very tired and he needed to sleep. Before he went to sleep, he told his wife to dress him up as a baby. She did, and then when the invaders from Scotland came over, they saw Finn dressed up as the baby. The Scottish soldiers saw the vast size of the so-called baby and saw that he was a giant and they wondered about the size of his father. They fled before they could find out. When they retreated back to Scotland, they destroyed the rest of the bridge so the giant could not follow them (McGarry).
According to Voices from the Dawn, who are experts on tertiary stone structures state that after growing interest in the Giant’s Causeway, The Giant’s Causeway Company won a case that allowed them to fence in the area and charge people and tourists to come see the area (The Giants Causeway). People are allowed to step on some of the pillars in a fenced in area as well as to see the great natural wonder. The company helps to preserve the area keeping the natural wonder intact. This has been a huge fundraiser for Ireland. This is a tourist attraction that is second to none other in the world because of the uniqueness as well as interesting nature of the pillars.
|Photo by Christopher Hill, National Geographic, 2013|
“Basalt Columns.” The Stone Store. The Stone Store.com, 17 September 20013. Web. 14 October 2013.
Hill, Christopher. Giant’s Causeway. N.d. Photograph. National Geographic. nationalgeographic.com. Web. 15 October 2013.
McGarry, Gerard. “The Giant’s Causeway and the Legend of Finn McCool.” The Northern Ireland Guide. The Northern Ireland Guide, 5 November 2007. Web 17 October 2013.
"The Giant’s Causeway” Voices from the Dawn. Voices from the Dawn, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.
Links for further research:
The Giants Causeway and Causeway Coast:http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/369
Formation of the Giant’s Causeway:http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway/history/
Formation of Basalt Columns