Rachel Troiano

Skinners Butte

Nestled in the hills surrounding the valley of Eugene, Oregon you will find cliffs with vertical cracks that form tall columns.  How do these columns form? Called “columnar joints”, they look human-made but actually form during the natural cooling of basaltic lava. When the lava cools, it contracts and breaks forming hexagonal shapes that sometimes resemble tall columns.  Many other natural features form hexagonal shapes including mud cracks, honeycombs, bubbles, snowflakes, and more. Hexagons are one of the most efficient shapes in which to fill space.

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