It’s #TriviaTuesday *and* my latest photo column has been published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler!
How many of you have ever heard of, or seen, columnar jointing? It’s a pretty cool geological formation that usually occurs with basaltic lava (as opposed to other lavas, although it’s happened with other mixes before). When lava begins to cool, it contracts, and when it contracts, it causes fracturing. This fracturing begins at the top and bottom and moves inward toward the center. Turns out (long story short) that the hexagonal pattern is the most efficient way for heat to be released when cooling. Columnar jointing occurs perpendicular to the original lava flow.
You can see really cool columnar jointing (aka columnar basalts) at places like Devils Postpile and Devils Tower national monuments. You can also see all sorts of columnar jointing along the Columbia River and in other parts of eastern Washington State, like at Drumheller Channels National Natural Landmark along the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. And that’s what today’s photo column is all about: photography and exploration at Drumheller Channels.
Click on either the image above or the image below to read more and see more pics.