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Volcanoes erupt in Northwest Georgia and off Gulf Coast of Florida

Volcanoes erupt in Northwest Georgia and off Gulf Coast of Florida

(Above)  Satellite Image of the Pigeon Mountain Volcanic Range –  Lafayette, GA


A Volcano in Georgia   (New York Times ~ June 20, 1857)

A writer in the Sentinel states that a volcano has lately made its appearance in Pigeon Mountain, about ten miles from Dalton. On the 24th, of May, the mountain was violently agitated, and the citizens in the vicinity were aroused and terribly frightened by the commotion. When observing the mountain they were more than ever terrified, for a brilliant light was plainly seen issuing from the summit. The atmosphere soon became strongly impregnated with a disagreeable sulphuric odor. On the following day a thick torrent of smoke and ashes ascended from where this light was previously seen. No blaze has yet been seen to issue from the crater. It had continued up to the 29th ultimo about as above described, emitting smoke and ashes without intermission. The crater is thought to be about 100 yards in diameter. No one has yet ventured near enough to ascertain anything of its general depth.

Several springs in the vicinity have totally disappeared. Many of the citizens are very much alarmed, and some even are moving out of the valley, through anticipation and fear of a violent eruption. The writer states that the principle of a volcano has for many years been germinating in Pigeon Mountain. About ten miles south from where the present appeared, is the crater of an extinguished volcano, which appears to have been in an active state at no very distant period.

Every appearance goes to vindicate the conjecture that it has been in a state of eruption within less than five hundred years. Several persons of credit have stated that in the Winter of ’48 or ’49, the earth in the vicinity was in a remarkably warm state. Others have avowed to have seen smoke with a sulphuric smell issue from a very remarkable cavity which is found in the neighborhood of the place.


Island Volcano in Florida (Puget Sound Weekly ~ September 2, 1866

A dispatch from Mobile says that on the 2d of September, on the Florida coast, fifteen miles from land, an island was thrown up by volcanic influence to the height of ninety feet above the water level, and measuring seventeen hundred feet in circumference.

(Editors Note)  This sounds more like a flying saucer!  However, I have found several Colonial Period maps that show islands in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida that are no longer there.


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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Hello Richard, my name is Stuart Fleming and I am interested in learning more on these volcanos. My friend and I are willing to come talk to you if you are available sometime in the future. We live in Woodstock, GA and like to meet with you and see if you know of any openings on the mountains.

    Stuart Fleming

    • The only opening I know about is somewhere between Murphy and Franklin, NC. According to 19th century scholar, Thomas Clingman, a vast crack opened up on the top of a mountain during an earthquake and spewed sulfurous fumes, flames and smoke. What we mainly have here in Georgia are highly eroded cones from eons ago. There is a dormant volcanic vent to the north of the Track Rock Terrace Complex. It can be reached by the USFS Vent Trail. No smoke has come out of this vent since the Charleston Earthquake in the 1880s.



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