Giant's Causeway

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Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Causeway-code poet-4.jpg
Giant's Causeway
National territory: United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Type: nature
Criteria : (vii) (viii)
Surface: 239 ha
Reference No .: 369
UNESCO region : Europe and North America
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1986  (session 10)

The Giant's Causeway ( English for 'dam of the giant', Irish Clochán an Aifir or Clochán na bhFómharach ) is located on the northern coast of Antrim County in Northern Ireland , east of the small town of Bushmills about 80 km from Belfast .

The Giant's Causeway has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986 . It consists of about 40,000 evenly shaped basalt columns , the age of which is about 60 million years. About half of the columns have a hexagonal cross-section, but there are also those with four, five, seven or eight corners. The largest of the stone pillars are twelve meters high. The rock layer is up to 25 m thick. The Giant's Causeway runs about five kilometers along the cliffs and ends in the sea, from which it reappears on the Scottish coast as Fingal's Cave - according to the old legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill . Geologists attribute the formation of the basalt dam to the cooling of hot lava . Formations of vertical basalt columns can arise when the lava cools down very slowly and evenly. The pillar structure is formed from stress cracks that slowly run into the material. These are caused by the cooling and shrinking of the material and spread perpendicular to the cooling surface. The volcano , the lava of which led to the formation of the Giant's Causeway , has now been eroded away.


According to an Irish legend , the dam was built by the giant Fionn McCumhaill (also Finn McCool or Finn McCumhail). It is said that one day Fionn was so insulted by his Scottish adversary Benandonner that he decided to build this dam to defeat Benandonner in a duel. He tore huge rocks from the cliffs of the coast and thrust them into the sea to build a safe route to Scotland. When he finished building, he challenged Benandonner to battle. In order not to lose his reputation, he had no choice but to accept the challenge, and so he set off for Ireland. Meanwhile, Fionn, tired and exhausted from the work on the dam, was looking for a way out of how he could relax before meeting the Scottish giant. He then disguised himself as a baby and waited with his wife for the arrival of Benandonners. When he appeared, Fionn's wife assured him that he was not there at the moment. At the same time she invited him for tea and promised that Fionn would be back soon. When Benandonner saw the alleged baby while waiting, he pale at the thought that given the size of the child, the father must be gigantic. Fear seized him and he ran back over the dam to Scotland, destroying it behind him.


Web links

Commons : Giant's Causeway  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ L. Goehring and S. Morris: Order and disorder in columnar joints. Europhys. Lett. 69, pp. 739-745, 2005, doi: 10.1209 / epl / i2004-10408-x .
  2. The Legend of the Giant Finn MacCool.

Coordinates: 55 ° 14 ′ 26.9 "  N , 6 ° 30 ′ 42.1"  W.