Did you know Wisconsin was home to a volcano? We're guessing you didn't. The Badger State, on the other hand, continues to astound us. In Wisconsin, you may explore ancient volcanoes in Dells of Eau Claire Park, which should be on your Badger State bucket list.
Volcanism is the process by which rocks are ejected from the bottom of a body of water or land and created into new mountains. There are two types of volcanoes: stratovolcanoes and pyroclastic cones. A stratovolcano is any mountain with an even surface caused by the accumulation of lava flows over time. They are found in countries around the world and can be between 10,000 and 20,000 feet (3,048 and 6,096 meters) tall. Pyroclastic cones are much smaller than stratovolcanoes - usually under 1000 feet (305 m) high - and occur when hot gases and liquids rise quickly through fissures in Earth's crust, causing volcanic explosions that destroy everything in their path.
Stratovolcanoes and pyroclastic cones are formed as a result of the buildup of pressure inside a body of molten rock called a magma chamber. The pressure increases until it becomes great enough to force its way up through the solid crust at points where the rock is weak. The gas and liquid within the chamber then escape, causing an explosion that spreads debris far and wide.
Few people are aware that a volcano may be visited right here in New Hampshire. Few people understand that the Ossipee Mountains, which are located just north of Lake Winnipesaukee and south of the White Mountains, are the skeletal remains of a gigantic volcano.
The mountains were formed when a large mass of molten rock deep within the Earth's crust was forced up through its surface. The hot rock solidified into granite, creating the Ossipee Mountains. Over time, wind and water action has worn many a cave and peak in the range's granite cliffs and spires.
Volcanoes can also appear out of nowhere without any warning at all. This happens when a small fragment of an exploding planetite crashes into the Earth's crust with great force. The impact heats up the rock around it and causes it to melt quickly. When the heat is gone, so is the volcano. But because this type of volcano appears without any indication of being active, they are difficult to detect on land or in the ocean.
The last known volcanic eruption in North America was in 1783. The Island of Hawaii had been forming for more than 100 years before that, but no one knew it at the time.
Because volcanoes are important elements in the Earth's environment, scientists watch them closely for signs of activity.
While it is extremely doubtful that one exists under Michigan, one might hypothetically form over many, many, many, many years—so the possibilities of a new Michigan volcano are not zero....
Volcanoes can occur naturally as a result of volcanic activity. However, a volcano must have an opening at the surface through which its molten material can escape, otherwise it will expand into a massive pressure cooker that eventually explodes. Because of this requirement, volcanoes cannot form within continents. Instead, they usually arise where two continental plates meet, bend over, and create a ring of mountains called an arc volcano.
The highest point in Michigan is only 9,330 feet above sea level, so there's no chance that it could cause any problems for people or property. However, if it were to suddenly blow up, the results would be devastating. The energy released by such an event would be very large, enough to destroy anything within a 20-mile radius from the center of the blast.
People have been living in areas where volcanoes are present for time periods ranging from hundreds of years to millions of years without any problem occurring. This suggests that they are not likely to cause damage quickly without warning signs that we might be able to read.
The Midwest does not have any active volcanoes. Because the heart of the United States is old and relatively stable, even ancient volcanoes are difficult to discover. Missouri is an excellent destination to visit since the Saint Francis Mountains contain some spectacular volcanic rocks from around a billion years ago. These rocks were once part of a large island that later sank beneath the sea.
Iowa has one national park with significant volcanic features: Devils Kitchen. Devastated by erosion and only accessible by trail, this beautiful natural area contains many large rock formations caused by the collapse of a mountain range. The park also has several lakes formed by glacial activity thousands of years ago.
There are no active volcanoes in Iowa, but there was once a volcano here that now consists of sedimentary rock deposited at the bottom of a sea. This is how most of the world's islands were created originally before being covered by water or land.
Mount Shishaldin in Alaska, which is 3,352 miles away, and Kilauea in Hawaii, which is 4,271 miles away, are the nearest active volcanoes to Greendale, Wisconsin. Aside from these places, the map below depicts additional volcanically active areas. Yellowstone is the closest to Wisconsin. It is a park near Montana and Wyoming that has a volcanic area that includes hot springs, geysers, and craters of various sizes.
There are four major types of volcanoes: shield, stratovolcano, composite, and lava dome. Mount Shishaldin is a shield volcano, which means that it does not have a single summit but instead has a series of overlapping cones. Each cone is formed when a block of rock (the shield) rises up through layers of ash and pumice deposited by volcanic eruptions.
Stratovolcanoes are very tall mountains formed by the accumulation of many small deposits of rock and ash called tephras (TEH-fruhm), which can be as little as an inch or two thick. They often have steep sides because much of the rock used up in their formation was too hard to be eroded away. The word "strat" means "layer" or "staircase" in Greek, and "volcano" comes from the Latin word for fire. Thus, a stratovolcano is a mountain made of layers of rock that resemble the stairs or steps of a staircase.