In New England Might… author Erik Klemetti writes about the possibility of volcanoes popping up in New England in a million years or so. But—I can hear you protest—New England is in the wrong place for volcanoes.
Here’s the thing, we make mistakes.
Something We’ve Overlooked
When we first started dividing the planet into tectonic plates we went by the obvious. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge was obvious. So the MAR was named as the eastern edge of the North American Plate and is considered as such to this day. Trouble is, the floor of the western North Atlantic is basaltic, while the continent is North America is granitic. Last I heard, granite and basalt just don’t mix. That is, they don’t blend or merge in any real sense. Basaltic rock will always be distinct from granitic rock, in any great extent.
What Does this Mean?
What it means when you get right down to it is that the Western North Atlantic plate and the North American plate are separate tectonic plates, with the WNA subducting under the eastern NA. And as happens with plates sinking into the mantle as they subduct melting. In the case of the newly discovered plume it would appear that that location in the WNA plate just happens to have a lower melting point for some reason, or it’s right above a mantle hot spot and so is melting.
And the Volcanism?
And the million years or so just happens to be the guess we’re most comfortable with. As far as I know it could be tomorrow. For that matter, there is already volcanism in northern New York state near the border with Vermont. And for your information hot springs are volcanic activity.
There’s Potential Here
Think of it, lava and ash burying New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Naturally some editors are going to have conniptions should you mention it in a story, and there will be a lot of bitching and moaning about it on social sites should it start happening in the near future. But I’ll bet the first persons to start taking the possibility seriously—and they’re right—are going to be talked about for a very long time.
Then again, it’ll probably be our distant descendants who’ll have volcanoes where we now have New Hampshire.
Just remember, we don’t know everything and what we do now can be wrong.