Dixon County - Genealogy Trails
The Famous Burning Hill
Quiet since 1878
Again Breathing Fire
Neb.—The famous burning hill on the Missouri river,
twelve miles above here, has burst into flame again,
the first sign it has made since 1878.
is escaping from the crevices, and the combustion is
so fierce as to bring the interior to a red heat. Flames
issue from some of the fissures, and the mysterious
noises so terrifying to the Indians have been resumed.
breaking out afresh of the burning hill has been reported
to the University of Nebraska, and a geological party
will soon make an excursion to the spot.
bluff upon which the phenomenon is observed is near
Ionia, on the south bank of the river. It is mentioned
in Huse's History of Nebraska as having been seen by
Lewis and Clarke in their famous expedition up the Missouri
river. These travelers said that the blazing hill had
been known to the Indians from time immemorial, and
had been regarded with much superstitious fear. Evil
manitous were supposed to dwell in the sumptuous fires,
and many strange legends clung: about the spot.
volcano is believed to be due to the peculiar formation
of the rock, which is of carbonate of lime mingled with
innumerable crystals of bisulphate of iron or iron pyrites.
The decomposition of the component parts is credited
with bringing about the violent chemical action. This
interesting spot attracted wide attention about a quarter
of a century ago and was visited by many scientists.
1878 the Missouri river undermined the bluff, and it
fell into the water. The strange fires were quenched
and the rumbling in the earth was heard no more.
Worth Morning Register - November 10, 1901
of Travelers About Dixon County's Freak
to the stories told by travelers at the Burlington passenger
station yesterday, the people of Ponca and vicinity
have become alarmed over the actions of the old Iona
"volcano" in that locality, which has resumed
a wonderful activity since the volcano on the island
of Martinique destroyed St. Pierre.
to the various story tellers, the Iona Volcano has been
spitting smoke and ashes during the past three days.
who are familiar with the old "Volcano" are
rather amused, since it was demonstrated by scientists
years ago that water seeping through a limestone formation
caused the steam and hot spot on the earth that
was long ago the fear and mystery of the Indians
along the river bank in Dixon County.
twenty years ago some Dakota farmers thought that they
could find coal by digging into the volcano. By
doing so they not only located the source of the heat
but also destroyed it for a time. Then the big
flood of 1881 again chilled its ardor till a year or
so ago, when the 'Volcano" resumed operations.
World Herald - May 13, 1902