There are some things which are already exciting and interesting to look upon, but are made vastly more so with research and understanding of exactly what is being seen. This photo is of one such thing; a spiraling tunnel through basalt. But how it came to be is an exciting thing.
Taken at Fossil Falls in Southern California, this tube is some 15 feet high, with a clear spiral pattern showing all the way to the top. The entire area is a bed of basalt spewed out by a dormant cinder-cone volcano, just a few hundred yards away. In the tunnel, clear spiral etchings can be seen, with each beginning with a small bubble in the basalt. Over millennia, cascades of glacial melt-water picked up chips and grains and slowly etched the hard stone away in queerly organic shapes, leaving it glossy and blue like gunmetal.