November 26, 2012
Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland
Photograph by Christopher Hill, National Geographic
Northern Ireland's Giant’s Causeway is a volcanic formation of nearly 40,000 mostly hexagonal columns, forged 60 million years ago when molten lava cooled quickly in the ocean water and contracted into crystallized basalt pillars, some more than 35 feet tall. This geological marvel is interpreted in legend as having been the handiwork of mythical warrior Fionn MacCumhaill (Finn McCool, in English), who conjured his heroic strength and built a bridge across the Irish Sea to attack foes in the Scottish Hebrides.
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