Science is cool because it sparks our curiosity. You might wonder why the thunder comes after the lighting and then you learn that light travels faster than sound. So the farther away the lightning happens the more noticeable the delay. Geology adds to this the element of mystery as we try to figure out what happened long, long ago with the rocky clues we have left. But watch out, our curiosity can also spark our imagination!
The Giant’s Causeway is a perfect example of a mysterious rock formation that sparks imaginations. It is located on the coast of Northern Ireland so to get there we decided to borrow our cousin’s boat.
The voyage was filled with what seemed like endless waves, wind, and sea spray but when we finally arrived it was a magical site!
The Giant’s Causeway is volcanic rock made up of interlocking mostly hexagonal basalt columns. These columns picks up again across the sea and into a cave on a Scottish Island.
It looks too organized to have been created by nature. According to the legend, it is the ruins of a causeway or raised road connecting these two places built by a giant. He even left a boot behind.
The columns are broken at different heights creating steps. It looks to me like the most amazing playground anyone could ever think up!
The columns were actually created by cracks forming during the lava cooling process similar to how cracks form as mud dries and the steps were created as pieces broke off over millions of years. There are other places to see columnar jointing of volcanic rock including one much closer to us in New Hampshire.
We each made a wish then boarded the boat for our return trip home to Cape Cod.
Create your own Giant’s Causeway with pattern blocks. The Giant’s Causeway is made up of mostly interlocking hexagons. There are several ways to make hexagons with pattern blocks. Then start stacking!
Take a video tour of the Giant’s Causeway and learn about its history…
Here is a simple experiment with corn starch you can try that demonstrates how the Giant’s Causeway was formed.
Read about the legendary giant…
Fin M’Coul The Giant of Knockmany Hill told and illustrated by Tomie DePaola
Turns out the giant that built the causeway was too afraid to fight the Scottish giant but his clever wife had an idea!
We live near a hill and lake with a legend. We read about it in this book. Do you live near a natural formation that inspired a legend? Please share!
Also in this series…
- Intro post with rock basics book picks
- Climbing a glacial erratic on Cape Cod
- Learn about diamond formation
- Looking for meteorites
We are running out of summer and still have three This Summer Rocks adventures to go. We didn’t factor in just how much we wanted to be beach bums this summer! So while we go back to school on September 2nd we are going to continue with our rock adventures after school and on weekends until the OFFICIAL end of summer on September 22. Next up? Here are a couple clues. Most gemstones are formed from minerals. This one is formed from organic material. It is also translucent and often contains small fossils!