columnar basalts


Blooper reel geology involving 20 meter high basalt columns, gravity, and a rock hammer. (Apparently they returned to reshoot this scene later).

“Giant’s Causeway” / “Clochán an Aifir” (40,000 interlocking columnar basalt structures)
Antrim, Ireland: the pillarlike remains of a Paleogene volcanic eruption. Molten basalt penetrated the surface from underneath a field of chalk, where lava then began cooling and solidifying into the geometric rock-formations seen at present.
© NERC London/Cooper/Institute of Geological Sciences.
photo by Ed Cooper


Columnar Basalt, Iceland: These columns that are so perfect, they almost look artificial. Millions of years ago, they were lava plateaus, which over time, cooled and fractured to create the stunning facade we see today.

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The bluest water you have ever seen – that is what the Molalla River is famous for.  Come visit the natural treasure just southeast of Portland for amazing hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing – and yes, swimming, too!

The Molalla River Trail System is an extensive network of more than 20 miles of trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. And nearby the Molalla corridor is the Table Rock Wilderness, also managed by BLM!

If the lush, green forests and columnar basalt features of the river canyon aren’t enough to dazzle, there are also views of the Cascade mountains! Don’t miss this great #mypubliclandsroadtrip stop!

Gjáin in Thjorsardalur valley is a pair of falls  within a lush garden paradise nestled within a rift zone. While the waterfalls themselves are attractive,  the rift zone setting is really beautiful in that it feels like you are entering a different place that contrasted from the typically dry and desolate desert highlands surrounding the area.

This is a lava area and the lava can take on such beautiful form. There are several lava caves in Gjáin and all over there is columnar basalt and volcanic tuff.

Toketee Falls, Oregon, USA.
One of the most famous waterfalls in Oregon, the 113-foot Toketee Falls on the North Umpqua River is actually two falls, first dropping 28 feet in narrow gorge , then plunging another 85 feet over a wall of columnar basalt into a large pool. The lush green foliage surrounding the crystal clear water of the falls makes this waterfall rather spectacular.
Photo by @alicedoggett (Instagram)


Giant’s Causeway


Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10 – 13 October 2016

Early Monday morning Allison and I made our way from London to Belfast. A city whose history bursts with conflict and violence, I found Belfast and the surrounding countryside to be extremely tranquil. A testament to the slow way of life, Allison took me on her daily routines: visiting the grocery store, walking to class, and cooking dinner. I loved the slow pace of everyday life; a sucker for routine, having a “usual” was nice for a few days.

Out of the ordinary, however, was the bus tour we took up the Northern Irish coast up to the Giant’s Causeway, one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. One geology class last semester transformed me into a bit of a rock nerd, and Giant’s Causeway has a large display of columnar basalt, which is volcanic rock that has formed naturally into hexagonal (and other) shapes. It’s really really cool, an amazing natural occurrence and tribute to the amazing powers of nature. The tour also passed and pointed out some cool Game of Thrones filming locations, as most of the show is filmed in Belfast. The GoT, geology, and scenery nerds inside me were very very happy on this (almost 10 hr long) bus tour.

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Top of the columns on the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland. Note how many of the columns are hexagonal but there are some errors with only 4-5. And really does look like a causeway that a giant could walk across.