In my world there is a kingdom built on hexagonal pillars like you see at the giant's causeway. Your social status is based on how tall the pillar you live on is. Sort of like the image below.

enter image description here

The pillars would be 30-50 meters across, would it be possible for a rock formation like this to form at that size?

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    – Secespitus
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ According to this you need one column to form and then the rest around it will form with similar size. Sadly, I don't know how to get that first one to be this big, or if it's even possible. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ In the real world it is actually the height of the pillar which is determined by the social status. Basically, rich and powerful people buy or build homes on the heights; a poor powerless family having a home high up will be forced to sell and move out. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ This may be useful, it discusses the scale of columnar jointed volcanic rocks: researchgate.net/publication/… $\endgroup$
    – Firelight
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 14:15

2 Answers 2


Devils Tower enter image description here from https://media.nationalgeographic.org/assets/photos/000/265/26550.jpg

from https://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/1021i/report.pdf

One of the most striking features of the Tower is its polygonal columns (fig. 53). Most of the columns are 5 sided, but some are 4 and 6 sided. The larger columns measure 6 to 8 feet in diameter at their base and taper gradually upward to about 4 feet at the top.

8 feet in diameter is bigger than a half meter; big enough to pitch a tent. But not big enough for some swanky mansion. You could however have several columns in aggregate that presented a 40 foot diameter surface. Or one could have multiple Devil's Towerlets.

Or you could just assert that they did get as big as you want them to be, because I gather your story is not a geological treatise. Something that is big can always be made bigger in fiction. That is one of the chief uses of fiction.

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    $\begingroup$ Big fan of that last paragraph. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 15:23

That rock formation is called columnar basalt. As you can see here columnar basalt can form in many different sizes. How large these columns become is dependent on how slowly the lava that formed them cools. The slower the basalt cools the larger the columns that may form. It is possible, though unlikely, that if the lava cooled extremely slowly it could form pillars 30-50 meters accross. On earth we haven't observed any pillars much over 2 meters wide.

  • $\begingroup$ At Devil's Postpile, pillars are up to 18 meters high (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…) $\endgroup$
    – user58697
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ @user58697 Good thing we're talking about width. I've edited for clarity. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 20:18

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