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The seas encroached during the late Cambrian producing the Lamotte Sandstone, 200 to 300 feet (61 to 91 m) thick, followed by carbonate sedimentation.Coral reefs formed around the granite and rhyolite islands in this Cambrian sea.
The Boston Mountains contain the highest elevations of the Ozarks with peaks over 2,500 feet (760 m) and form some of the greatest relief of any formation between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.This carbonate formation, the Bonneterre now mostly dolomite, is exposed around the St.Francis mountains, but extends in the subsurface throughout the Ozarks and reaches a thickness of 400 to 1,500 feet (120 to 460 m).The formations are separated by steep escarpments that dramatically interrupt the rolling hills.Although much of the Springfield Plateau has been denuded of the surface layers of the Boston Mountains, large remnants of these younger layers are present throughout the southern end of the formation, possibly suggesting a peneplain process.Drainage is primarily to the White River, with the exception of the Illinois River, although there also is considerable drainage from the south slopes of the Boston Mountains to the Arkansas River.
Major streams of this type include Lee Creek, Frog Bayou, Mulberry River, Spadra Creek, Big Piney Creek, Little Piney Creek, Illinois Bayou, Point Remove Creek, and Cadron Creek.
The Ouachita Mountains to the south rise a few hundred feet higher, but are not geographically associated with the Ozarks.
The Boston Mountains portion of the Ozarks extends north of the Arkansas River Valley 20 to 35 miles (32 to 56 km) and is approximately 200 miles (320 km) and are bordered by the Springfield and Salem Plateau to the north of the White River.
An alternative origin for the name "Ozark" involves the French term aux arcs.
In the later 17th and early 18th centuries, French cartographers mapped the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers.
Other possible derivations include aux arcs meaning "[land]of the arches" and Alum Cove in the Ozark – St. It is even suggested aux arcs is an abbreviation of aux arcs-en-ciel, French for "toward the rainbows" which are a common sight in the mountainous regions.