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UK - Northern Ireland - Giant's Causeway

UK - Northern Ireland - Giant's Causeway
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Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña -
Irlanda del Norte - Calzada del Gigante


The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about three miles (4.8 km) northeast of the town of Bushmills.

It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and a national nature reserve in 1987 by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. In a 2005 poll of Radio Times readers, the Giant's Causeway was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom.[5] The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places.

Much of the Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast World Heritage Site is today owned and managed by the National Trust and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. The remainder of the site is owned by the Crown Estate and a number of private landowners.

Around 50 to 60 million years ago, during the Paleocene Epoch, Antrim was subject to intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. As the lava cooled, contraction occurred. Horizontal contraction fractured in a similar way to drying mud, with the cracks propagating down as the mass cooled, leaving pillarlike structures, which are also fractured horizontally into "biscuits". In many cases the horizontal fracture has resulted in a bottom face that is convex while the upper face of the lower segment is concave, producing what are called "ball and socket" joints. The size of the columns is primarily determined by the speed at which lava from a volcanic eruption cools. The extensive fracture network produced the distinctive columns seen today. The basalts were originally part of a great volcanic plateau called the Thulean Plateau which formed during the Paleocene.

According to legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by a giant. The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), from the Fenian Cycle of Gaelic mythology, was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. In one version of the story, Fionn defeats Benandonner. In another, Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realises that his foe is much bigger than he is. Fionn's wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the 'baby', he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn would be unable to chase him down. Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal's Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story was influenced by this.

In overall Irish mythology, Fionn mac Cumhaill is not a giant but a hero with supernatural abilities. In Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888) it is noted that, over time, "the pagan gods of Ireland [...] grew smaller and smaller in the popular imagination, until they turned into the fairies; the pagan heroes grew bigger and bigger, until they turned into the giants". There are no surviving pre-Christian stories about the Giant's Causeway, but it may have originally been associated with the Fomorians (Fomhóraigh); the Irish name Clochán na bhFomhóraigh or Clochán na bhFomhórach means "stepping stones of the Fomhóraigh". The Fomhóraigh are a race of supernatural beings in Irish mythology who were sometimes described as giants and who may have originally been part of a pre-Christian pantheon.



La Calzada del Gigante es un área que contiene unas 40 000 columnas de basalto provenientes del enfriamiento relativamente rápido de la lava en un cráter o caldera volcánica, que ocurrió hace unos 60 millones de años. Se encuentra en la costa nororiental de la isla de Irlanda, unos 3 km al norte de Bushmills en el Condado de Antrim, Irlanda del Norte. Fue declarada Patrimonio de la Humanidad en 1986,​ y Reserva Natural Nacional (National Nature Reserve) en 1987.

El proceso geológico que da origen a la formación de columnatas basálticas es relativamente simple: la lava incandescente en una chimenea volcánica o en una colada puede llegar a enfriarse in situ cuando el volcán o caldera cesan en su actividad eruptiva. Este enfriamiento da origen a la formación de basalto, que es una roca cristalina, aunque con cristales sumamente pequeños debido a que su enfriamiento fue muy rápido y con una presión mucho más débil que la que soportan las rocas ígneas que dan lugar a la formación de granito a mayores profundidades: de hecho, el basalto se va formando en la superficie de la lava en el cráter o caldera y va progresando en profundidad. A medida que el basalto va formándose disminuye su volumen y se forman prismas generalmente hexagonales cuya separación compensa la disminución de su volumen (disyunción columnar). Posteriormente, la erosión actúa primero sobre las rocas de los alrededores debido a que el basalto es mucho más resistente, quedando al descubierto dichas columnas.

Cuenta la leyenda que había dos gigantes, uno de Irlanda (Finn) y otro de Staffa, Escocia (Bennandoner), que se llevaban muy mal y continuamente se tiraban rocas. De tanto tirar rocas se formó un campo de piedras sobre el mar. El gigante escocés decidió pasar el camino de rocas y derrotar a su adversario, pues éste era más fuerte que el otro. La mujer del gigante irlandés (Oonagh) vio cómo venía el gigante escocés, así que decidió vestir a su marido de bebé. Al llegar el escocés y ver que el bebé era tan grande, pensó que su padre sería el triple de grande, así que huyó pisando muy fuerte las rocas, para que se hundieran en el mar y que el otro gigante no pudiera llegar a Staffa.
Date: 2018-01-12 15:26:10

Marcial Bernabeu Bernabéu UK United Kingdom Great Britain Reino Unido Gran Bretaña Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Irlanda Norte Giant Gigante Causeway Calzada Costa Coast Sea Ocean Mar Oceano Océano

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