The Chaîne des Puys (French: [ʃɛn de pɥi]) is a north-south oriented chain of cinder cones, lava domes, and maars in the Massif Central of France. The chain is about 40 km (25 mi) long, and the identified volcanic features include 48 cinder cones, eight lava domes, and 15 maars and explosion craters. Its highest point is the lava dome of Puy de Dôme, located near the middle of the chain, which is 1,465 m (4,806 ft) high. The name of the range comes from a French term, puy, that refers to a volcanic mountain with a rounded profile. A date of 4040 BCE is usually given for the last eruption of a Chaîne des Puys volcano.
The chain began to form approximately 95, 000 years ago, and the volcanic activity that formed the range stopped only about 10,000 years ago. The majority of the cones were formed by Strombolian eruptions, and these cones usually have well-defined summit craters. Some have nested craters, and others show broken rims where lava poured through.
The chain is famous in the history of volcanology, as it was the subject of the pioneering research of English geologist George Julius Poulett Scrope, starting in the 1820s. In 1827 he published his classic Memoir on the Geology of Central France, including the Volcanic formations of Auvergne, the Velay and the Vivarais, which was later re-published in a revised and somewhat more popular form in The Geology and extinct Volcanos of Central France in 1858. These books were the first widely published descriptions of the Chaîne des Puys, and the analysis therein laid the foundation for many of the basic principles of volcanology.
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