Most of Missouri is full of lush forests. One part isn't. It's a mountainous part of the state that was formed by a violent ancient volcano.

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The St. Francois Mountains near Irondale, Missouri are a part of "Precambrian igneous mountains rising over the Ozark Plateau" according to Wikipedia. Many have hiked this area and no doubt noticed the very unique dark rock that exists there. It almost looks like it could be the surface of Mars.

How did this part of Missouri form and why is it so different from the rest of the state?

This Missouri mountainous region used to be the location for a very violent ancient volcanic eruption. While Wikipedia and other places believe that happened over 1.45 billion years ago, I disagree with the dating methods. Suffice it to say that it happened a very long time ago. We can all agree on that.

Here's another crazy potential fact. I'm saying "potential" because there's no way to prove it, but many scientists believe the St. Francois Mountains are one of the only places to never have been submerged by a worldwide flood. It's one of the only mountains to not have marine fossils present. Fascinating. I would argue that the lack of marine fossils doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't submerged, but that's a discussion for a different day.

This formerly volcanic part of Missouri includes "Taum Sauk Mountain, Bell Mountain, Buford Mountain, Proffit Mountain, Pilot Knob and Hughes Mountain" as Wikipedia mentions. Hughes Mountain in particular looks otherworldly near the top.

Next time you have an out-of-state friend ask you about Missouri, you can say "yeah, you mean the state formed by an ancient volcano" and freak them out.

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