Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sungai Balung's Volcanic Boulders, A Tourism Asset For Tawau


TAWAU -- Viewing the hundreds of 'basalt-type' volcanic boulders or columns that emerged vertically from the surface of Sungai Balung for the first time, this writer found it hard to believe that this was a natural phenomenon.

The volcanic boulders, of pentagonal and hexagonal columns, are not only 'uniformly arranged' but appear to be of about the same size.

To some, that these volcanic boulders appear as if they were machine-made and used as piling rods at the river might not be an overstatement.

The superior surface of each of these columns measures about 60cm x 80cm but it is hard to determine the structure's actual length and how deep it is buried in the riverbed.

The aerial view of these volcanic columns appears like the bricks layed out neatly on a pedestrian walkway. The others, located at the riverbank appears as if they are piling rods used to prevent erosion.

COOLING OF MAGMA

According to the Deputy Director-General of the Mineral and Geoscience Department (Corporate and Mineral Economy), Dr Mustapha Mohd Lip, the boulders were formed due to the cooling of magma (molten rock under the earth's crust) when it 'oozed out' into the earth's surface.

These rocks were classified as extrusive volcanic granites that were formed on older layered rocks that also comprised volcanic mud and sand.

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