Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway is an area along the coast of Northern Ireland where up to 40 thousand pillars of black basalt rise up from the sea. These basalts formed as a result of intense volcanic activity during the Paleocene, approximately 50 – 60 million years ago. The pillars obtained their characteristic, mostly hexagonal shape through contraction and horizontal fracturing after cooling of the lava plateau. According to legends, giants walked over these rocks to cross the sea.

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Information source: UNESCO World Heritage Convention

Image: Basalt pillars of the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Credit: Jal74, Wikimedia Commons.

The Matterhorn, Alps, Switzerland

The Matterhorn is an iconic mountain peak in the Swiss Alps whose summit reaches a height of 4478 meters. The base and lower part of the mountain consist of successive layers of ophiolites and sedimentary rocks, whereas the rocks of the upper part consist of a series of gneisses.

Information source: Encyclopaedia Brittannica, Wikipedia

Image: The Matterhorn in the Alps, Switzerland. Credit: Zacharie Grossen, Wikimedia Commons.

Mont Blanc, Alps, France

The Mont Blanc is the highest mountain peak in the Alps with a summit that rises up to 4810 meters on the borders between France, Italy and Switzerland. The mountain is always covered in snow and ice and is surrounded by several shoulder peaks, including the Dôme du Goûter, Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc du Tacul. The Glacier du Geant flows down from the slopes of the mountain and feeds into the Mer de Glace, the longest glacier in France.

Information source: Encyclopaedia Brittannica, Wikipedia

Image: Summit of Dôme du Goûter and Mont Blanc in the Alps, France. Credit: Alexandre Bruisse, Wikimedia Commons.

The Alps, Southern Europe

The Alps are a great mountain range in Europe, ranging across France and Switzerland in the west, Germany in the north, Austria and Slovenia in the east and Italy in the South. They have been formed as a result of the collision between the Eurasian and African tectonic plates, which occurred in the late Mesozoic and Cenozoic. During the Alpine orogeny, marine sedimentary rocks of the Tethys Sea were thrusted and folded into high mountain peaks, among which are the Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

Information source: Encyclopaedia Brittannica, Wikipedia

Image: Peaks of Aiguilles de Chamonix in the Alps, France. Credit: Simo Räsänen, Wikimedia Commons.