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Basalt columns of Giant's Causeway

Basalt columns of Giant's Causeway

E417/0125

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Credit

SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Giant's Causeway. Basalt column formation known as the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This jointed formation is made of close- packed hexagonal columns of basalt, in some places forming a relatively flat pavement. The Causeway is about 180 metres across at its widest, extends 150 metres into the sea, and consists of about 40,000 columns. The columns average 46 cm across and are 1-2 metres in height. Basalt is a fine- grained extrusive rock found in most lava flows. Giant's Causeway formed when the continents of Europe and North America split apart some 60 million years ago. The lava flow resulting formed hexagonal joints as it contracted on cooling.

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