Is Charlotte Motor Speedway Built On A Volcano? [Solved!]

It’s a beautiful day in North Carolina. The temperature is in the high 80s and there’s a beautiful long-lasting sunshine coating the sky. What could possibly go wrong?

The setting is idyllic. This is Charlotte, North Carolina, a sprawling metropolis, famous for its barbecue, its fashion savvy, and its many vibrant communities. Its unofficial slogan is “Queen City of the Southeast” and its downtown area is home to the largest collection of antebellum architecture in the Southeast. It also has an award-winning opera house that’s a must-see for visitors.

Volcanoes In The Earth’s Interior

While there’s plenty to do in downtown Charlotte, visitors may be wondering why they traveled all this way to North Carolina. Charlotte is actually situated on the edge of a massive volcano. If you thought New York was the center of the Earth, then you’ve come to the right place!

There are three active volcanoes in the Earth’s interior that reach the surface near Charlotte: Mount Asclepius, Mount Wolf, and Pumice Hill. Millions of years ago, lava spewed from the volcanoes and spread out across the region. The heat of the liquid rock, mixed with ash and dust, created the distinctive red soil we see today. Some of the land created by the lava flow is now occupied by skyscrapers, highways, and suburbs while the rest is occupied by trees, lakes, and farms.

Volcanic Activity In The Area

Mount Asclepius, the southernmost of the three volcanoes, has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most spectacularly active volcanoes in the world. In addition to the frequent explosions and ground quakes, there are at least 59 recorded eruptions from this active volcano. Since 1883, there have been more than 500 recorded eruptions. This makes it the second most active volcano in North Carolina, only trailing behind Mount Mitchell, the state’s highest peak.

At this point, you may be wondering if there are any signs that the volcanic activity here is active. The short answer is yes. There have been a few small eruptions in the last few decades, though nothing serious. Luckily, in 2018, the number of active volcanos around the world remained below 100. If this trend continues, we may comfortably continue enjoying Mount Asclepius’s excellent accommodation without fear of an eruption.

Mount Wolf And Pumice Hill

The largest of the three volcanos is Mount Wolf. Its eruptions are less frequent than those of Mount Asclepius but can be just as destructive. Between 1671 and 1871, there were at least 19 large eruptions, killing hundreds of people and destroying entire towns. Since its discovery in 1906, Mount Wolf has erupted 25 times – on average, about once every seven years. In 2018, this terrifying volcano erupted for the first time in 128 years, killing one person and forcing the evacuation of hundreds. Although it’s not an active volcano anymore, Mount Wolf continues to create problems for the city due to severe explosions and the resulting ash fall.

The Biggest Eruption In Modern Times

Pumice Hill, the northernmost of the three volcanos, is one of the most volatile in the world. In addition to Mount Wolf and Mount Asclepius, it’s considered part of the same complex. According to geologists, the three volcanos were once connected and formed a single chain. This is evidenced by the linear pattern that transects the cities of Asheville and Charlotte. In 1952, there was a major eruption that lasted for three days and deposited large amounts of pumice and ash on the surrounding area. The remnants of this eruption can still be found near the cities’ limits. Since that time, Pumice Hill has erupted 12 more times, though none were as big or as deadly as the 1952 event. In 2018, this terribly destructive volcano erupted for the 11th time in its history, devastating the town of Red Mountain and killing one person. It was the most destructive volcano of the 20th century and, unfortunately, the beginning of the end for Pumice Hill.

Geologists have determined that, at some point, all three of the volcanos in North Carolina will be able to erupt again. This makes the region a potentially dangerous place to live. Luckily, unlike other active volcanos around the world, these three are currently contained within the Earth’s mantle. This makes erruption less likely, though it certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t have any more devastating explosions!

The Future Of The Volcanoes

Thankfully, with the exception of Pumice Hill, all three of these volcanos are currently dormant and have a good chance of staying that way. This is largely thanks to the fact that there’s no longer any surface water nearby. Ancient lakes that were once found in the area have been drained by the area’s inhabitants. However, what happens if one of these volcanos decides to wake up? It’s a frightening thought, to be sure. We would then have to live with the reality that, at any moment, one of these volcanos could wake up and end our world as we know it. Fortunately, at this point, science and technology have gotten to the point where we can accurately determine when a volcano may erupt. This makes it much safer to live near these active volcanos than you might think. Still, it’s best not to tempt fate. Keep your distance from these giants and enjoy the beautiful scenery while you can.

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