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Simpson Street Free Press

Who Created These Mysterious Pillars in Ireland?

Strange pillars reside in County Antrim, Ireland. They have an unusual shape that appears to be man made. These tightly wedged pillars descend in tiers, in a staircase all the way down to the sea. These columns are mostly hexagonal, though the number of sides these structures have may vary. Although their shape implies that they are manufactured, the complete opposite is true.

There are similar structures such as the Giant’s Causeway in Scotland or Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. With having so many of these unexplained structures around the world, myths for how they were made arose. For the Giant’s Causeway, it is said [locally] that the Irish giant, Finn Mac Cool, drove the columns into the sea one by one so that he could walk to Scotland to fight his rival. These exciting stories theorizing their construction adds new life and attractiveness to these beautiful structures.

The creation of these abnormalities is way more complex than it might seem. During the period where North America and Europe recently split up, the new North Atlantic Ocean in between the two was still a developing feature. The northern area of both Europe and North America was in place, but the body of water still had to form the edges of these continents. The western coast of Greenland separated from Canada around 80 million years ago, but the southwestern coast was still firmly attached to the opposing northwestern coast of the British Isles. 20 million years later, these coasts began to separate and there were major volcanoes in place of a few Scottish islands.

Naturally, these volcanoes erupted and flooded the Giant’s Causeway area. Basalt is a particularly hot fluid type of lava that is able to spread across large surfaces relatively easily, and contributes to the majority of lava-related anomalies in the world. As any other hot liquid, this molten lava contracts as it cools. However when basalt lava contracts and cools enough to crystallize, it tends to crack in a regular pattern, usually into a hexagonal design. These cracks go from top to bottom of the crystallized rock. These formations, the cracks being referred to as ‘joints’ and the whole as ‘Columnar Basalt,’ typically have a width of 18 inches.

The similar qualities with this phenomena that the Giant’s Causeway shares is unparalleled. This intricate natural structure is one definitely fit for giants.

[Source: 100 Great Wonders of the World]

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