Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Columns on Columns: Pictures all over the Joint!

I was so pleased to see all the columns showing up in the geoblogosphere this week! Columnar-jointed columns that is. I added to the cacophony with shots from my field trip last week to Devils Postpile and the Owens Gorge east of the Sierra Nevada. The great collection of pictures that followed have been linked by Lockwood at Outside the Interzone. Check them out!

The meme reminded me of one of the greatest exposures of columns I've ever seen in my travels: they were along the east coast of the Isle of Skye in Scotland at Mealt Fall. Mealt Fall plunges over the sheer cliff and almost right into the sea. The cliffs are vertically jointed basalt flows that are related to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean in late Mesozoic and early Cenozoic time.
When I got on the plane for the Scotland trip in 2001, I had taken a grand total of 3 pictures on my very first digital camera. I barely knew what I was doing, and took only a handful of high resolution shots on one of the greatest trips of my life. I wish I could do the whole trip again, though, with the camera and experience I have now (and isn't just about all of life like that?).
Here are some of the columns lying on the beach below the cliffs.

I got a note from a geology student in Argentina, Ivan Ivanyvienen, who offered up an additional photo of columnar jointing in rhyolite at the San Juan Precordillera. It's a great shot and he has given permission to show it here on Geotripper. Thanks!

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