The coast line that greeted us was a dramatic one, even on an overcast day. Here, the forest and the ancient lava flow met the Pacific Ocean.
The basalt column cliffs were formed from lava flows from Omuroyama, about 4000 years ago. In geological terms, that’s all very recent. The flows went on for miles, and it’s a great place to walk along.
The Jogasaki Coast walk was 9km long, but we didn’t need to walk such a long way to get some great views.
There was even a 60 metre suspension bridge (suspended 18 metres above the sea) from which to appreciate the scene.
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the morning walk. This couple were walking a pair of beagles along the bridge. I must say that our beagle, Bridie, wouldn’t be so daring as these little guys.
After all that food at the onsen, we really needed a walk. Luckily, the onsen had that covered too – the next morning we joined their free guided walk down to the Jogasaki Coast.
The first part of the walk was by a fast-flowing river that ran through some spectacular forest.
It was a temperate rainforest, and there were plenty of details to take in.
We even saw a lovely-looking spider. These guys aren’t deadly, but they do make you pretty sick. Luckily they are pretty tame, unlike some of its Aussie relatives.
We followed the river until it tumbled into the sea.
And then, what did we find?
We travelled from east coast to west coast in a few hours in Auckland to view some volcanic features. On the calm waters of the east coast at Takapuna Beach, we saw Rangitoto Island, a volcanic that erupted only 500 years ago.
The sand on this beach is sandy at least, and full of shell bits. It’s not a bad place to stroll down, even on a showery day.
The west coast beaches of course were completely different. We visited Muriwai Beach to view the basalt columns on the cliff-face.
With its black sand, biting winds and roaring surf, it was certainly a wild and woolly place.
We end our visit to the quarry, and our geology excursion, looking over the quarry and the bush behind. Who knew that such geological wonders was at our doorstep!
There was a variety of heavy machinery at the quarry. Some were in every day use.
But there were some older machinery in the less used corners of the mine which reflects the quarry’s 50 years of use. I found these more interesting.
When the rock is blasted it forms nice columns, like these. The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland have similar basalt columns, but in a seaside setting.
They are surprisingly heavy for their size, and are really hard rocks. These are crushed and used to make super concrete. This is the concrete for really big structures, like the World Square building and Anzac Bridge in Sydney.
We were allowed to take some home, and our columns sit happily in our garden at home.
Looking at the walls of the quarry up close, you notice that the grooves lean this way and that, like someone has sketched it.
The grooves are formed when magma, coming out of the volcano, cools. Hubby the geologist says that the way the grooves lean point to the coolest point. Since the grooves on each layer point in different directions, it tells you that the volcano was active many, many times.
Close up, it looks very beautiful, like artwork.
The kids were pretty enthralled too.
Looking at the landscape around Sydney now, it’s hard to believe that at one stage the area harboured some active volcanoes. The evidence may be hard to find now, but they are there.
Back to the geology excursion, the second half was a visit to Kulnura Quarry, in the tablelands of the Central Coast. The quarry produces basalt to be used in concrete and road base, and basalt (recalling all those high school science lessons) comes from volcanoes.
We could drive into the quarry. Here we are at the top of the hill.
We drive 160 metres down to the floor of the quarry.
And look back up to where we started.
That’s 50 years worth of digging – and they still haven’t hit the bottom. The manager said that there’s another 50 years’ worth of basalt underneath.