Searching for the Heartland's Lost Volcano
By: Jason Lindsey
The Heartland is bursting at the seams with beauty but did you know some of that beauty is the result of something pretty mean and ugly. Billions of years ago a volcano spewing scorching lava created some of the beautiful places in the Heartland.
Many folks can't believe a volcano once existed right here in southeast Missouri but according to Dr. Christine Aide with Southeast Missouri State University the lava and ash flows from this volcano still exist today. Aide says, "Scientists come from miles around to examine these formations."
Some scientists believe Taum Sauk is where the massive eruption actually took place leaving behind more than just treasures. Aide says, "Besides the wealth of minerals that we have because of this volcano, such as our lead mines, our silver mines, we also have as a remnants of this the potential of small earthquakes as the landscape readjust."
If you are worried about another volcano erupting Aid says it won't happen. "This is an area that I can say will never erupt again. It's incredibly old, it's solidified, and the hot spot is no longer here."
So the next time you take a drive down Highway 72 just remember those aren't just rocks you're looking at, they're a bit of a history book, a tale of when a volcano erupted helping carve out what we know as the Heartland today.