Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hey, we've been there (volume 2)

The Giant's Causeway is a natural rock formation on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. It is one of Northern Ireland's most famous tourist destinations, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sadly, it appears that global warming is threatening to flood it.

Nora and I went there on our honeymoon. It's surprisingly large; this photo shows about a fifth of the formation.

The rocks have arranged themselves into hexagonal columns. The formation is a combination of basalt and chalk, and was created by volcanic activity. If that sounds vague, it's because I don't want to offend Dean with my ignorance of geology. I will let him fill in the details.

Nearby, there is an "island" that is disconnected from the mainland by a small gap. Fisherman used to build a rope bridge across the gap every year for fishing season. The British government now maintains a permanent rope bridge, which also gets a steady stream of tourists.

The bridge is about 100 feet long, and the drop looks to my eye to e about 200 feet. The bridge is really rickety, but perfectly secure.

Unfortunately, there isn't a good, canonical article about carrick-a-reed.

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Blogger Dean W. Armstrong said...

The hexagons are cooling cracks. Think of a basaltic lava flow: low viscosity, high temperature, it flows out and spreads easily into thin sheets. The maximum cooling gradient is vertical, both up and down, and hence the cracks. I have some incredibly insane cooling patterns in basalt from Iceland--I need to scan them in.

February 4, 2008 at 4:28 PM  
Anonymous honeymoon ireland said...

That was so much fun to read! It took me back 4 years ago when me and my husband went for our honeymoon in Ireland as well. We chose the destination even before we got married. We stayed at the Northern Ireland.
We stayed for 2 weeks, went to the Giant's Causeway on the northern coast as well. Was absolutely perfect...

October 20, 2015 at 2:17 PM  

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