If giants had the fancy idea to build a pipe organ, probably, their creation would be just like the black and chimney-like basalt columns of Szent György-hegy.
Hiding in the dense forest some of the dark basalt columns rise even to a height of 30 meters with a maximum diameter of 1.5 meters. But what is that accounts for this unique formation?
These statues of geology were born as children of volcanic activity in the Tapolca Basin. The 3.3-year-old Szent György-hegy is one of the buttes in the basin as another memento of basalt lava flow. Basalt lava has a low viscosity, due to its low silica content, resulting in rapid lava flows that can spread over great areas before cooling and solidification. The solid lava forms a protective cap that resists erosion thereby maintaining and demonstrating surface level (Hungarian for “butte” is “tanúhegy” meaning “witness hill”).
The organ pipes, however, are evidence that even the hard basalt cap can erode. While cooling the rock mass shrank causing tension inside. Vertical tension could be accommodated by the elastic molten rock beneath but horizontal tension could not be relieved and so the basalt fractured into vertically standing columns, predominantly hexagonal in cross-section. Later post-volcanic heat changes and water took over the main role. Water freezing in cracks as well as changes in temperature further contribute to an extensive fracture network. These cracks kept growing and reached deeper and deeper. Basalt debris at the feet of the columns are telltale signs that this process is a currently ongoing.