Fingal’s Cave, Staffa, Scotland

This evening, I am reporting on Fingal’s Cave, a popular visitor site off Scotland’s West Coast.


Fingal’s Cave forms part of the island of Staffa which is of volcanic origin featuring unique geological features such as numerous caves and basalt columns similar to that found at the Giant’s Causeway and Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland and closer by on the island of Ulva all of which are in relatively close proximity to Staffa. The island consists of a basement of tuff, underneath colonnades of a black fine-grained Tertiary basalt, overlying which is a third layer of basaltic lava lacking a crystalline structure. The slow cooling of the second layer of basalt resulted in an extraordinary pattern of predominantly hexagonal columns which form the faces and walls of the principal caves. The lava contracted towards each of a series of equally spaced centres as it cooled and solidified into prismatic columns. The columns typically have three to eight sides, six being most common.The volcanic geology dates back about sixty million years.

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