PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE SITE

Although the building blocks of the Causeway formed some 60 million years ago and continue to exert a major influence on the landscape, the detailed features we see today are much younger. Indeed, it is only as recently as 15,000 years ago that the coastline emerged from beneath a of ice. Since this time, a series of landscape adjustments has not only produced the three promontories that comprise the Giant’s Causeway, but also the many steep-sided headlands and deep bays fringed by vegetated scree below basalt cliffs. These adjustments have consisted interactions between a complex geology and marine erosion along an exposed Atlantic shoreline to produce a wide array of active and relict slope failures. This spectacular landscape owes its existence to the interactions of:

  • A varied geology comprising two major episodes of superimposed, Early Tertiary lava flows separated by a thick palaeosol suggestive of humid Tropical like conditions, all of which are cut through by numerous dykes.

  • physical_description1

    The Lacada Point headland from lower path. Here it is easy to distinguish both the Lower and Middle basaltic formations and the red Inter – Basaltic palaeosol.

  • A complex late- and post-glacial history that saw ice retreat from the area, sea level rise and fall and the para-glacial adjustment of marine cliffs to create, for example, the many bays and the extensive scree found along the coast.

  • physical_description2

    Panoramic view of dormant and active screes at Port Reostan.

  • The Long-term exposure of the site to high-energy coastal conditions that worked with the underlying geology to erode and emphasise the distinctive embayed coastline and are now actively attacking the headlands they created.

  • physical_description3

    Outstanding view from Hamilton’s Seat, showing the characteristic pattern of bays and headlands within the Causeway Coast.

  • A long, and ongoing history of human intervention including: stone extraction, footpath construction and road building, the construction and demolition of various buildings and the running of a high profile transport system.

  • physical_description4

    View of the Giant’s Causeway from Aird Snout on a stormy day, with the road that connects it to the Visitor Center and the ‘Causeway Bus’ at the turning circle.

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