San Diego, CA
Devil's Postpile - Talk About Natural Wonders
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Just a few miles outside Mammoth Lakes, California, Devils Postpile National Monument is home to one of nature's most curious geological spectacles. Formed when molten lava cracked as it cooled, the 60-foot-high, blue-gray basalt columns that form the postpile look more like an enormous, eerie pipe organ or a jumble of string cheese than anything you'd expect to see made from stone. The mostly six-sided columns formed underground and were exposed when glaciers scoured the valley during the last ice age, some 10,000 years ago.
The exceptional aspect of the Devils Postpile is not that some columns are curved, but that in places the lava was homogeneous enough and had a cooling rate uniform enough to have produced many columns so long and regular. Similar columnar basalt is found in Ireland and Scotland.
April 6th, 2011
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