UK rock's greatest hits (Wales & Northern Ireland)
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England | Scotland | Wales | Northern Ireland
Powys, Wales and Herefordshire, England
The Black Mountain straddles the English and Welsh border, forming the eastern rampart to
the Brecon Beacons, the first National Park in the United Kingdom to achieve Geopark status. This is a landscape scoured by ice and pockmarked by glacial
lakes, like the enchanting Llyn y Fan Fach shown here.
But the rocks underfoot tell a very different story, for the layercake of strata that make
these forbidding north-facing cliffs are a legacy of the old red sandstone continent, desert
sandstones dating back to the Devonian period when the northern and southern landmasses of
Britain were sutured together in the arid interior of the supercontinent Pangea.
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Antrim, Northern Ireland
The famous Giant's Causeway is a legacy left behind from a huge outburst of lava
flows. Between 50 and 60 million years ago, a vast hotspot ripped open the sea floor in the
North Atlantic and a line of volcanoes burst out as Britain and Ireland slowly broke away from
Greenland and North America.
Vast floods of molten lava spewed from these fiery centres and as the enormous basalt flows
cooled, contracted and solidified, they developed the distinctive column-like appearance that
characterises both the Causeway and its Scottish equivalent, Fingal's Cave on the island of
Staffa. This extraordinary volcanic episode marked the violent birthing process of the northern
Atlantic Ocean, one of the last great geological events to have affected our islands.
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