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La Piedra del Rosa  (The Stone Rose) | by Dysartian
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La Piedra del Rosa (The Stone Rose)

Lava flows, when cooling and contracting, often produce striking columnar basalt formations (like organ-pipes) such as the Giant’s Causeway in North Ireland, or those of Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa, or more locally to us, Samson’s Ribs in Hollyrood Park, Edinburgh.

The expression of cooling called La Piedra de la Rosa (the Stone Rose) at Parque Nacional del Teide on Tenerife is like nothing I’ve ever seen. It is result of cooling processes when the lava river began to cool. When lava is solidifying, its mass contracts and cracks; i.e. when the rocks are exposed to the wind and weather, they sometimes adopt characteristic shapes. In some cases, you can find balls produced by spherical flake-off (which we have locally in Fife) in other cases, the rocks are broken into hexagonal prisms, ‘organ–pipes’ are created. If the cracks are of a radial type, like here then "stone petals" are formed, producing a shape like this stone rose, or mimicing a compass face. I used the young lady in this for scale and the greyness in the background is because we were in the clouds at this point, before rising above them into a brilliant blue sky in the caldera of the Pico del Teide and Pico Viejo.


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Taken on March 22, 2011