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UNESCO World Heritage Site #258: Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast

UNESCO World Heritage Site #258: Giants Causeway and Causeway Coast

UNESCO World Heritage Site #258: Giants Causeway and Causeway Coast

From the World Heritage inscription:

The site lies on the north coast of the County of Antrim, Northern Ireland, and includes the Causeway Coast extending for about 6 km between Causeway Head and Benbane Head. The Causeway Coast has an unparalleled display of geological formations representing volcanic activity during the early Tertiary period some 50-60 million years ago. The most characteristic and unique feature of the site is the exposure of a large number of regular polygonal columns of basalt in perfect horizontal sections forming a pavement.

Tertiary lavas of the Antrim Plateau, covering some 3,800 km2 , represent the largest remaining lava plateau in Europe. The coastline is composed of a series of bays and headlands consisting of resistant lavas.

The average height of the cliffs is 100 m, and has a stepped appearance due to the succession of five or six lava flows through geological time. This geological succession during the Tertiary period consists of the Lower Basalts, where about six of the 11 lava flows are 67 m thick and are exposed between Plaiskin Head and Benbane Head; the Interbasaltic Bed which are exposed along extensive sections of the cliffs east of Giant’s Causeway; and the Middle Basalts, which are thick flows ranging from 30 m to over 150 m. The Giant’s Causeway displays the columnar basalt structures and includes the Specific sites of interest include the Giant’s Causeway itself (a sea-level promontory of almost entirely regular polygonal columns averaging 45 cm in diameter and numbering 40,000 columns), the Giant’s Organ (60, 12 m high regular columns and the three-tier structured Middle Basalt), Chimney Tops and Hamilton’s Seat (a viewpoint). The coastline is also cut through by olivine and theoleiite dykes.

In addition to its geological features the site has a range of habitats covering seashore, cliff, scree, grassland, scrub, heathland and marsh.

The Giant’s Causeway itself (a sea-level promontory of almost entirely regular polygonal columns averaging 45 cm in diameter and numbering approximately 40,000 columns); the Giant’s Organ (about 60 regular columns, 12 m high; Chimney Tops (a number of columns separated from the cliffs by erosion); and Hamilton’s Seat (a view point). The coastline is also cut through by olivine and tholeiite dykes, a good example of which can be seen at Roveran Valley Head. Exposure of these columns, in perfect horizontal sections at such a scale creating a pavement, is considered a unique combination of features.

Giant’s Causeway is undoubtedly one of the best known destinations in Northern Ireland. It is approximately a one hour drive from Belfast and is easily reachable by car. There are also many day tours from Belfast you can take. It could even be reached by car from Dublin as it is only a 2-2.5 hour drive.

The actual Giant’s Causeway rock formations for which is it best known is actually quite small. Far smaller than I thought it would be. It is also crawling with people, so getting a shot without a bunch of tourists took me about 15 minutes of sitting in one spot waiting for a 2 second window when no one was standing on the formation I wanted to photograph.

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Comments

  1. Sasha Sitni says:

    This is on my list of places to visit. Didn’t know it was in the north, thought it was on the west coast. Great capture.

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