When I think of Missouri (and I do often actually), I think of a lot of things. Fishing, canoeing, Mark Twain and volcanoes. Oh, wait. I never think of Missouri and volcanoes, but apparently I should since I've now learned there were no less than 3 ancient volcanoes in the Show Me State.

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Since I am an earthquake nerd, I do tend to pay attention to things the USGS says. I came across one of their papers (Editors Note: now we call them websites) that included this curious fact thrown in:

The St. Francois Mountains is a region of formerly extensive volcanic terrane comprising several calderas, cauldron subsidence structures, ring intrusions, and resurgent cauldrons. Three calderas are recognized: the Taum Sauk, the Butler Hill, and the Hawn Peak.

So, they're saying that Taum Sauk, Butler Hill and the Hawn Peak were all volcanic calderas back in the day. That's nice. The good news is that this was way long ago (yes, even before Fonzie was on the TV show "Happy Days") in the Precambrian Era. While I disagree with some of the accepted dating methods of rocks, I will admit this was way long ago. National Geographic names the Precambrian Era as the earliest geologic age.

That's one of the reasons why there are so many epic mountainous hiking places in southern Missouri. You can thank ancient volcanoes for that.

Do we have reason to worry about being blown to kingdom come someday? Nope. These have been dormant for a long time and aren't active now which means we're not gonna have a Missouri version of Dante's Peak. However, know that there are volcanoes in Missouri's distant past. That's a fact.

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