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You've skied the majestic mountains, trekked the wild terrain and lounged by the lakes. So what's left for the New Hampshire tourist? Try venturing into a volcano. About 120 million years ago, long before tourists flocked to New Hampshire to see the foliage, an active volcano was the top attraction.
Geologists say that at the time it was much bigger than Mount St. Helens, and when it erupted for the final time the force was perhaps 10 times that of the 1980 rumble in Washington State. Left behind today is a less dangerous, but still curious attraction for geologists and tourists alike, the Ossipee Mountains, which provide a rare look at the inner workings of an inactive volcano. Visitors to the Greater Ossipee Area can experience the vicarious thrill of standing on a once-active volcano, and collect samples of volcanic rock belched up during the last eruption. It is one of the few places in the world that offers such easy access to the inner workings of a dormant volcano.
The Ossipee Mountains are the subsurface remains of a magma chamber that lay about 4 miles beneath the land surface and fed a massive volcano. As molten rock and gasses were extruded, the magna chamber began to empty and lose pressure. Eventually the weight of the overlying rock caused the chamber to collapse and volcanic rock in the conduits to the surface, which had already begun to crystallize, caved into the chamber. Other magma still in the chamber cooled more slowly and formed granite.
The Ossipee's are easy to find on a topographical map of the state. The circular caldera, ring dike, or crater, quickly catches the eye, and is easily reached by road and a short hike. Geology professors in the state have taken their classes there for hands-on study, geologists from all over the world have made the trip, and there are the uncounted tourists who find their way up the mountains. The tallest peak is under 3,000 feet; prior to the big eruption, the mountains were much higher before collapsing into themselves creating the "caldera" or "ring dike" phenomenon.
The Ossipee Mountains are world famous among geologists for the near completeness of the ring dike and their unusual composition of about one half fine grained volcanic rock, and one half a coarse grained granite. One of the most accessible, exposed and vivid examples of the inner workings of this prehistoric system in the world, The Ossipee Mountain Ring Dike is very much a geologic monument of "volcanic" proportions!
The Hoyt Family and Tri Tek Events would like to invite you and your family to join us for the 8th Annual King Pine Tri & Duathlon held at Purity Spring Resort. Race Day will feature events for the entire family. Purity Spring Resort is located on Rt. 153 in Madison, NH.