Q: While flying south of Atlanta I saw what looks like a volcano. It is on a straight line between Manchester and Molena, about half way. Cove Rd and the Flint River go right thru it. I wonder if there is a chance it would ever erupt?
A: Retired Fernbank geologist Bill Witherspoon says:
It is “The Cove”, the “Cove dome” to geologists, and not a volcano (see pp. 252-253 of Roadside Geology of Georgia). A resistant rock layer, the Hollis Quartzite (a tilted edge of which also makes Pine Mountain) is deformed into the shape of a dome, which when planed off by erosion makes the circular outline Randy’s picture shows in the distance. The deformation is hundreds of million years old and the original sandstone that became the quartzite was most likely first deposited as sand along a shoreline more than 500 million years ago.
There is a camp that would attribute the dome structure to a meteorite impact, like the craters on the moon, but I think simple intersection of an earlier and a later up-fold (anticline), like two intersecting wrinkles in a bedspread, is more likely.