If you have spent much time traveling around New England, there is a good chance you have made at least one trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  It's got quaint resort towns, amazing skiing, family friendly amusement parks, majestic mountains, and pristine lakes.

Those with a scientific mind may have spent a few minutes thinking about what caused the significant mountain ranges running through that part of New Hampshire (and Western Maine).

Well, in many cases, the answer is VOLCANOS!

Yes, while it may be a peaceful place to spend time with your family now, the area used to be a lot more exciting.  Like Vegas, but with fire and magma!

According to Northern Woodlands, about 120 million years ago, there was a MASSIVE volcano just south of the White Mountains, right across the border from southwestern Maine.

Many geologists believe that the Ossipee Mountains were formed by a volcanic eruption about ten times the size of Washington State's Mount St. Helens or Italy's Mount Vesuvius.

The article notes that because of trees and other vegetation on New England mountains, it can sometimes be hard to find proof that the mountains were formed by volcanic activity.  However, water features can sometimes serve as evidence.  For example, Connor Pond and Dan Hole Pond, located on the eastern side of the complex, are probably remnants of ancient gas vents. The article also notes that volcanic rocks can be seen from Mountain Road's Cold Brook Bridge.

Other than the theory that the mountains were formed by a massive volcano, the Ossipee Mountains are often visited by geologists because they are a great example of a ring dike complex.  There are several ring dike complexes spread across New England, but the Ossipee ring dike complex is unique because the outer ring dike is very nearly complete.  On top of that, it has a nine-mile diameter, so it is pretty darn large.

It should be noted that not all geologists believe the Ossipee Mountains volcano was huge.  Some believe it was a small volcano.  However, they all believe the mountains were formed by some kind of volcano.

Want to see it for yourself?  Hop in the car and drive to Center Ossipee, New Hampshire.  It is only a few hours from most of Central Maine.  Get directions HERE.

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