Introduction to Landforms and Geology of Japan

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Columnar Joints and Landscapes

Columnar joints
  (Tsumekizaki)

Fractures splitting rock into polygonal columns are often seen in exposed igneous rocks, especially volcanic rocks such as basalt and andesite, and welded tuff. These fractures, called columnar joints, are produced in a cooling process of lava and sill. The geometric morphology of rocks developed columnar joints may create peculiar landscapes; Devil's Tower in the US and Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland are well-known. In Japan, columnar jointing is very common and accounts for splendid landscapes in some places. I will describe columnar jointing and introduce some scenic spots of columnar jointing with how to get there.

 

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