Discovery of the Giant’s Causeway: Geologist may have solved the mystery of how the world-famous attraction was formed

The forming event behind Northern Ireland’s world-famous Giant’s Causeway may have lasted just days, not thousands of years, according to a new theory.

The origin of the striking stones encompasses theories ranging from their construction by the mythical giant Fionn mac Cumhaill to more scientific explanations.

Now dr. Mike Simms, Curator of Natural Sciences at the National Museums NI, presented the first reinterpretation since 1940.

dr Simms pondered why the extraordinary geological features are only found at sea level.

On the occasion of yesterday’s Unesco International Day of Geodiversity, he explained why he believes that they were caused by an event that lasted only a few days.

The scientific explanation, widely accepted for decades, is that a river valley was filled with lava that pooled at greater depths than normal. As the thick layer of lava cooled and solidified ified it formed these regular columns.

dr However, Simms has advanced the idea that if this lava-filled hollow were a valley, it would have cut through ancient lava layers beneath.

He has identified layers of ancient lava on the bank other side of the Giant’s Causeway, sloping inward where older strata have not been eroded. dr Simms said: “One analogy I find helpful in explaining this involves cakes.

“Erosing a river valley is like cutting through a layer of pie to reveal subsurface layers.

“In my interpretation, we are actually seeing layers of older rock sloping down towards the causeway – more like a badly baked cake that has sunken in the middle.

“I think the ground subsided as lava rose and erupted at the surface.

“The lava filled the depression and created the conditions for the formation of the pillars.

“This event likely lasted only a few days and not the many thousands of years it would take for erosion to create a river valley.”

dr Simms explained that he first thought about the theory while leading a field trip to the World Heritage Site in 2012.

“I owe a special debt of gratitude to another geologist, a young Brazilian who was on a field trip I led in 2012,” said Dr. simms

“He asked how long it would take to erode the alleged river valley and that was what opened my eyes to the evidence before me.

“I had visited the Giant’s Causeway many times and up until that moment I had just accepted the previous theory.

“It shows that even with world-famous landmarks like this, new discoveries can be made through simple observation.”

The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only Unesco World Heritage Site and is run by the National Trust, Britain’s leading conservation organization which developed the theory of Dr. Simms acknowledged.

Max Bryant, general manager of Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede, said there can always be new opportunities and perspectives just waiting to be discovered.

“It shows how wonderful, magnificent and mysterious is a geological formation that we are able to share with the world here in Northern Ireland,” he said. Discovery of the Giant’s Causeway: Geologist may have solved the mystery of how the world-famous attraction was formed

Fry Electronics Team

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