Basalt columns and sea stack

Basalt columns and sea stack

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Caption: Basalt columns and sea stack forming part of a coastal landscape. These columns of basalt (lower right) formed when molten rock (magma) from below the Earth's surface rose to the surface during volcanic activity. Rocks of magmatic origin are called igneous rocks. As these igneous rocks formed at the surface, they are called extrusive igneous rocks. The geometry of the columns is due to contraction on cooling. The sea stack (far right) formed as wave erosion of coastal rocks created first caves, then an arch, and finally a stack as the arch collapsed. Photographed in Iceland. For a close-up of the basalt columns, see C021/5575.

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