Water helped erect Iceland’s lava towers

Science pointed the way to understanding why these curious natural pillars form

By Stephen Ornes, 11:51 AM November 8, 2013

Unusual hollow pillars of lava rise some 2.5 meters (roughly 8 feet) above the floor of picturesque Skaelingar Valley in Iceland.  Though hikers have long been familiar with these rocky sculptures, scientists had largely ignored them — until now. A team of geologists at last offers a scientific explanation for the weird columns. Writing in the Aug. 15 Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, they propose that the lava pillars formed when molten rock oozed over soggy land.

 

In 1783, a lo...

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