This is a sample of columnular basalt in the Field Museum in Chicago:

The famous place I’ve heard of this formation is the Giant’s Causeway, a cliff on the northern coast of Ireland. There’s a geological explanation and a legendary one, a tale I enjoy because the hero actually dodges the issue and defeats the villain with a trick instead of a fight. In Rite of Return the hero and heroine end up at Giant’s Causeway at a moment when the heroine is questioning why she’s in the country. It was a scene that took me a long time to write, and I did a lot of staring at photos of columnular basalt while I was trying to do it.

So we’re in Chicago for spring break hitting all the museums and having a fabulous time. It’s one of those trips where I have to keep stopping to take notes for later; I want to sleep twelve hours a night to absorb all I’ve seen during the day. We went to the Field Museum to see mammoths and spent a long time in the Egypt exhibit. Then I turned a corner and saw the basalt. On one side was a display about a 1938 meteorite that fell through a guy’s garage and car before denting to a halt on the muffler. On the other was the geology of the Chicago area, which as far as I can tell has not a whiff of columnular basalt.

But here were these pieces, looking just like the photos. They’re about 18 inches across. And I have more writing to do.


Published by annmariegamble

Ann Marie Gamble has been putting pen to paper since her mom made her scrub the crayon off the stairwell walls (one chapter per step). Although there is plenty of inspiration to be had in the carpool lane, she likes writing her way across the galaxy as well as across town, and she especially enjoys research missions (aka family vacations) when she and the boys can get away. Her favorite place to write is a room with a view and a pot of tea.

One thought on “Convergence

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