Thursday, December 27, 2007

Paddling past pillow lava at Downan Point

As we paddled past Downan Point, on the south Ayrshire coast, we came across ancient lava floes where the cliffs tumbled into the sea.

On closer inspection we found the basalt rocks to be in a form called pillow lava. These pillow lavas date from the Caradoc age of the late Ordovician period, some 450 million years ago. At that time sea levels were much higher than today and these lavas were formed when they oozed from a volcanic vent which was under water. Despite their great age, these pillows look as fresh as any contemporary pillow lavas found on Hawaii.