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Columnar Basalt Facts to Shape Your Lesson Plan

Columnar Basalt

High School

 

 

Columnar basalts, anything this breathtaking requires a natural process that’s quite painstaking!

Basalt columns are natural pillars made of hardened lava caused by the contraction of volcanic rock as it cools. The columns are often shaped like hexagons, pentagons, or octagons due to the “rapid” (err…over a measly century) cooling process. So we guess you could say basalts knew how to rock before it was cool!

These spectacular natural beauties can often form as vertical cliffs or terraced steps, sometimes plunging directly into the sea.

Our Ward’s Science geologist, Amelia, journeys to Iceland to bring you jaw-dropping images of columnar basalts and the scientific facts behind their formation. Include this lesson in your students’ coursework; they will be excited to go with the flow!

Download our study guide and teacher’s answer key to reinforce the concepts covered in this post. 

Fun Fact: Martian basalts: The Martian crust was built of basalt lava flows not much different from those on Earth.

Now that you’ve got your students’ creativity flowing, don’t let it cool off! Use these Ward’s World activities to solidify their interest in Earth Science: 

Rockhounds Agree: This mineral activity rocks - Students learn the distinguishing properties of one mineral from another, including color, streak, luster, hardness, fracture, and density. They’ll learn how those properties are determined, how minerals are classified, how they occur in nature, and how they’re used in daily life.

Earth Science Resource Round Up - Use these resources to help students explore the scientific facts behind everything from rocks and minerals to earthquakes, tsunamis, the water cycle, mountain formation, and more. 


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