scotland island

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Staffa and Fingal’s cave, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Photos taken last week, when we had the chance to spend a few hours on the island.

Staffa is an entirely volcanic island, probably best known for its unique geological features such as the many caves and the unique shape of the basalt columns which are also found in the Giant’s Causeway and Rathlin island in Northern Ireland and, closer by, on the island of Ulva. It consists of a basement of tuff, underneath colonnades of a black fine-grained Tertiary basalt, overlying which is a third layer of basaltic lava lacking a crystalline structure. By contrast, slow cooling of the second layer of basalt resulted in an extraordinary pattern of predominantly hexagonal columns which form the faces and walls of the principal caves.

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staffatrips Staffa looking spectacular in bright sun and with a big swell, July 2017.

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old man of hoy ▴ hoy, orkney, scotland

the ‘old man’ is a 449 ft red sandstone sea stack created by erosion of the surrounding cliffside. it is not more than a few hundred years old and will collapse sometime in the foreseeable future.