by Charles A. Monagan
Oct 31, 2011
02:59 PM
On Connecticut

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So as we were trying to make way through the chaos over the weekend, I jokingly said to my kids, "Wow, this year has been crazy nature-wise. We've had blizzards, hurricanes, earthquakes, heat waves, tornadoes, floods ... as a matter of fact, the only thing we haven't had is a volcanic eruption!"

We laughed for a second before my son said, "Yeah, but there aren't any volcanoes in Connecticut, right?"

Uhhh ...good question!

Off the top of my head, I couldn't ever recall having heard of any being anywhere along the East Coast, but then again, we never had earthquakes around here until recently, either. A volcano in Connecticut sounds ridiculous, but what do I know? There might be a dormant one lurking somewhere under the recently devastated landscape, building up and getting ready to blow...

Fortunately, that's not the case.

Although as it turns out, Connecticut was once a hotbed of volcanic activity, albeit a few hundred million years ago. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, the traprock ridges that frame the Connecticut River Valley (such as the Hanging Hills in Meriden) and other places were once white-hot flows of molten lava, bubbling up from the Earth. There are also remnants of ancient volcanic lava domes, basalt ridges and other volcanically forged geological features across the state.

In my poking about, I also came across this article by Professor William Morris Davis from the December 1891 issue of Popular Science, entitled "The Lost Volcanoes of Connecticut." It's a pretty dry technical read, but it does explain in great detail how much of the state's geology slowly came into being over millions of years. Of course, no one was around to record if there were any enormous Mt. Vesuvius-like eruptions, although it does seem as though there had to be a few along the way.

As mentioned, the good news is that it appears that all the volcanic activity was gotten out of the state's system long ago. So although we will continue to have to deal with snow, rain and wind, we should be spared from molten lava. For the immediate future, anyway.

Now, how long before the locust arrive?

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