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Peter’s Rock History, Legends and Folklore

An Unusual Rock Formation

Basalt Columns are found around the globe. Most notable is the Giants Causeway on the coast of Northern Ireland. This is a series of more than forty thousand columns; the result of ancient volcanic eruptions. Often the columns form what appear to be stepping-stones. Most columns are hexagonal in shape and appearing as pillar-like structures. This unique appearance is formed from rapid cooling of basaltic lava.

Columns have been found in the United States in Yellowstone, the Devil’s Postpile in California, Antelope Canyon, Washington, Oregon as well as Hawaii, the Iao Needle being a well-visited tourist attraction. Other sites are in Turkey, Hungary, Brazil, Canada, Russia, South Africa and Iceland.

Although minor in size, the summit of Peter’s Rock Park in North Haven is an example of Basalt Volcanic Columns. This outcrop of trap rock is part of the Metacomet Ridge which extends from Long Island Sound through the Connecticut and Massachusetts river valleys and into Vermont. The Peter’s Rock columns were formed by the rapid cooling basaltic lava. If standing on the highest point of the summit (373’), the tops of the pentagonal columns are just below your feet and appear to be attached in a quilt-like pattern. Although worn to a smooth surface, the outline of the pentagon is distinct. The face of the summit (overlooking the Quinnipiac River Valley) is a series of exposed stepping stone pillars.

So, if you get a chance, take a hike to the summit and stand on top of early volcanic activity. This unusual rock formation makes the ancient geology of Peter’s Rock noteworthy.

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