Volcanos in Utah

Volcanos are powerful, destructive, and awe-inspiring. They are a huge catalyst for how the landscape is shaped, and there are hundreds of active ones that still go off every year.  Famous examples, like Pompeii, show just how intimidating volcanos can be. Volcanos are usually associated with Pacific islands like Hawaii, but what many people don’t know is that we have four volcanoes in Utah. In fact, St. George is home to one of them. 


What Exactly is a Volcano

A volcano is an opening on the surface of the planet’s crust that allows the build-up of magma and hot gas to escape from underneath Earth’s crust. Magma is the molten rock that is under the crust and lava is the rock that erupts on the surface. The most active Volcano in the world is on the big island in Hawaii called Kilauea and it has been erupting since 1983 with no indication of stopping the near future. The largest volcanic eruption that has ever taken place on Earth was in Yellowstone, 600 million years ago. Yellowstone is still active, and if it ever went off again it would mean the end of all life as we know it.  But because Yellowstone is such an active hotspot, it is why there are so many geological wonders in the national park that millions of people go visit each year.


The St. George Volcano

In Santa Clara, there is a volcano called, well, the Santa Clara Volcano. This area around is filled with dried lava and many lava tubes. In Snow Canyon, you can hike around inside lava tubes, and one leads to a large cave that people can crawl into.  The last time the Santa Clara Volcano erupted was around 20,000 years ago, so it is considered dormant. Although it would be fascinating to see an eruption take place at a safe distance in our little valley, the Santa Clara Volcano is an effusive volcano. This means that it only erupts with a steady stream of lava instead of an intense explosion. Both types are dangerous, but the effusive lava does not spew chunks of stone all over the landscape. There are three types of volcanos: cinder cone, shield volcano, and a stratovolcano. The volcano in St. George is a cinder cone volcano, giving it more of a gentle slope and a rounded top than a traditional volcano.

Volcanos are an important part of keeping the Earth’s temperature regulated, and they helped create the Earths atmosphere. The soil they provide is rich with minerals that help many plants grow in fertile areas. They helped with the land formation and many islands were created because of volcanic activity. Luckily, we get to enjoy the results of volcanos without having to worry about the danger of them exploding in Southern Utah, but they are an amazing geological phenomenon that can be seen all over the world.


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