Are Twin Buttes In San Angelo A Volcano? No, BUT…
Last week, drought conditions caused the exposure of 113 million year old dinosaur tracks at, appropriately named, Dinosaur Valley State Park in the city of Glen Rose. Hearing this, made me curious.
I always wondered if the Twin Buttes in San Angelo had ever been a volcano. Then I googled it, I found more than a few references to Twin Buttes Volcanos. Anxiously, I scrolled through the results. What I found is that there are indeed a pair of twin buttes volcanos. It is not the Twin Buttes here in San Angelo, however.
The Twin Buttes Volcanos are a pair of volcanos in the Mount Shasta area of Northern California that have been dormant for 10,000 years.
There are three active volcanos in neighboring New Mexico. They include the Valles Caldera, Zuni-Bandera and Carrizozo. Carrizozo is only 404 miles from San Angelo. As geography goes, that's not too far.
While Twin Buttes here in Tom Green County are and were never believed to be volcanic, with a little digging, I was surprised to find that there are indeed extinct volcanos here in Texas. In fact, Linda McCall an information geologist at the University of Texas Austin told KSAN-TV in San Antonio, that there are indeed about 200 or so volcanoes in Texas.
Fortunately, none are active. But, she says they could become active again. It happens, but usually not after that long of a time. In Reykjavik, Iceland The Fagradals Mountain Volcano erupted after being dormant for over six-thousand years.
The nearest extinct volcano to San Angelo is Mount Inge, a mile south of Uvalde at Fort Inge Historical Park.
Another fairly nearby extinct volcano is pictured below. Geologists think Three Dike Hill may have been the last volcano to erupt in Texas, some 27 million years ago.
Paisano Peak is pictured below. This peak is down US Highway 90 near Alpine, Texas. This one still looks like a volcano, sort of. Geologists think it once erupted some 35 million years ago.
Back in 2021, an episode of 9-1-1 Lone Star featured an erupting volcano near Austin, Texas. At the time, I thought it was pure fiction. In actuality, there is a 140 foot tall dormant volcano near the Austin airport, called Pilot Knob. It is one of 75 late Cretaceous Period volcanic complexes around Central Texas.
Volcanos are amongst the most destructive forces of nature. They are also among the most interesting things in all of our natural world. While our Twin Buttes is NOT nor was it ever believed to be volcanic, there are still plenty of opportunities to see volcanos not far from San Angelo. They are all dormant, but in the end, maybe the only good volcano is a dormant one.