Ozark Mountains come from the sea and top down

As the White River resumes its flow through
Table Rock Dam, a snap shot of how the Ozark
Mountains were formed is revealed.

Although Branson has almost a hundred shows nothing is as impressive as the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains and its lakes yet, in a paraphrase of the age old question, “What came first, the chicken or the egg” one could ask “What came first in Branson, the sea, mountains or the lakes? Confused, some might ask, “What sea?”

As one looks at the beauty of the Ozark Mountains today it is hard to imagine just where a “sea” fits into Branson’s history. What should be understood however is that over a billion years before there was a Branson or Ozark Mountains, the “Ozarks Plateau,” began its formation. It is that formation from which the Ozark Mountains have been formed.

The result of that formation is a major elevation between the Rocky Mountains to the west and the Appalachian Mountains to the east. In non-geological terms a lot that elevation took place under a vast inland sea. Over a period of millions of years lava flows, a series of upliftings, and the deposit of layers of sediment etc. built the plateau. As the inland seas receded the plateau looked more like a “big block” than the Ozark Mountains of today.

The vast majority of the mountains that most people think of, such as the Rocky Mountains, were formed from the “bottom up” reaching their final height and appearance primarily through dramatic volcanic activity. The Ozark Mountains, on the other hand were, and are still in the process of being, formed from the “top down” by water, wind erosion time, and nature.

Picture a block of granite three feet square waiting to be carved into a beautiful “Bald Eagle.” How the final sculpture looks is up to the sculptor, but from its base level, it will never be higher than three feet. It could be a lot lower than three feet, but not higher. The Master Sculptor has been sculpting on the Ozark Plateau for millions of years with the result being the Ozarks Mountains and the inherent natural beauty that millions of visitors come to Branson and the Ozarks to enjoy every year.

Evidence of the way the Ozarks was and is being formed, from the “top down,” can be seen in layers revealed in the “cuts” left by construction of roads, dams, etc. and in the valleys and bluffs carved out by the rivers of the Ozarks. The picture of the cut at Table Rock Dam is an example. It illustrates how the White River has sculpted the area around it from the top down.

The White River serves as a primary source for Branson’s Tri-Lakes, Lake Taneycomo, Bull Shoals Lake, and Table Rock Lake, all of which are made lakes. Underneath those lakes and the rivers serving as their source the history of the formation of the Ozark Mountains is still being written.