Giant’s Causeway Basalt Columnar Joint Landscape
Reference work entry
The Giant’s Causeway, located on the northwestern coast of Antrim in Ireland, is a landscape of basalt columnar joints. These regular hexagonal and pentagonal columns formed approximately 50 million years ago, when hot basalt flows cooled gradually and contracted into columns. These basalt columns look like a natural staircase leading to the sea. They are approximately 0.45 m wide and extend 6–12 m above sea level. There are approximately one thousand exposed columns, but some are submerged under the water. The Giant’s Causeway is a World Natural Heritage Site. China also has numerous basalt columns in many places, such as Liuhe in Nanjing, Niutou Mountain and Dazhang Mountain in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, and Tengchong in Yunnan Province (Fig. 5).
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