Saving Mt. Ascutney: 10 reasons why

More than 122 million years ago, a giant intrusion of molten magma, called a pluton by geologists, formed deep below the surface of southeastern Vermont. Over the course of millions of years, feeder pipes coming off this subterranean cauldron of liquid rock forced their way through Precambrian basement gneisses and Paleozoic metasedimentary rocks to reach the surface. The pipes would pump several hundred cubic miles of seething magma to what probably was a giant volcanic complex far above. During a prehistoric moment in time of great mountain building and continental plate collisions, this mighty pluton spewed out its hellish contents onto the planet's surface in the form of molten rhyolite lava and lethal pyroclastic ash clouds.

By the time the dinosaurs died out, the pluton drained the last of its fiery belly; evidence of this magma mass's surface outpourings, as well as thousands of feet of crustal rocks, are long gone-slowly eroded away. Lost seasons of erosion left behind a giant peak of solid rock, seemingly frozen in time-at least to human eyes. Today, this once violent crucible-assigned by geologists to the White Mountain plutonic-volcanic series of igneous rocks-is better known as Mt. Ascutney.

Now a group of citizens affiliated with the Weathersfield Land Preservation Association are interested in preserving the modern natural scenic beauty and wildlife that surround this once mighty volcanic complex. These citizens have just established a 10-point justification that will help motivate and move forward a plan to accomplish their conservation goals. The idea is to raise needed funds from residents to help save Ascutney land that was privately owned.

Weathersfield Land Preservation Association's Steve Aikenhead likes to quote native Vermonter and former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge's wisdom; in fact, Silent Cal is now part of the "Top 10 Reasons to Save Mt. Ascutney".

Aikenhead and the Weathersfield group created the 10 reasons with sincerity, seriousness and just a dash of humor:

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