The Isle of Staffa (from the Old Norse for stave or pillar island) is a small and uninhabited of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.
Entirely of volcanic origin, the isle 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. By contrast, 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. Similar formations are found at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
Known as the Vestmannabjorgini, these majestic sea cliffs rise up to 600 meters above the turquoise hues of the churning sea below roughly halfway between Vestmanna and Saksun, on the north side of Streymoy, Faroe Islands.
The cliffs are characterized by their numerous clefts and green blankets of luxuriant grass and mosses (sheep graze quite undisturbed on the clifftops).
The boats that sail here give an unparalleled view of the cliffs and the birds as they weave in between the numerous sea stacks and in and out the narrow straits bound by sheer rock walls and dark echoing grottoes.
These soaring cliffs provide safe nesting places during the summer months (May-August) for thousands upon thousands of seabirds, above all puffins, guillemots, razorbills and gulls.
The Giant’s Causeway, located in County Antrim, on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland, is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres thick in places