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Paricutin Volcano: Enchanting History and Fascinating Facts

Paricutin Volcano: History and Facts
The volcanic eruption of the Paricutin scoria cone led scientists, for the first time, to study the development of a volcano. Although, the Mexican land is famous for its volcanic activity, the arrival of this new volcano did zap many scientists and volcanologists around the world.
Mukta Gaikwad
Last Updated: May 12, 2018
Did You Know?
Parícutin first erupted in 1943 in the south-central part of Mexico. The eruption took place in the middle of a cornfield and is considered as the youngest and the most recent volcano in the Western Hemisphere.

Location: Michoacán, Mexico
Height: 424 meters (1,391.08 feet)
Lifespan: 1943-1952
Type: Cinder cone
The Parícutin volcano was formed on February 20, 1943. A fissure, or a long, narrow crack began to form in farmer Dionisio Pulido's cornfield. This was followed by the ground being raised by almost 8 feet into the air. The trees trembled and the earth swelled. Ashes, fine dust particles, hot rocks, lava blobs, and gray smoke began rising from the conical formation. The ground continuously whistled a loud hiss as though it was wailing in pain. The smell of sulfur was hanging heavy in the air. Dionisio fled with his family in terror. The eruption generated a 50-m high cinder cone within 24 hours. In a week, it had been raised up to 100 m in height from the assemblage of bombs and lapilli, and ash fragments were coming down on the village of Parícutin.
* Parícutin Volcano (Michoacan, Mexico) - Credited to Cerro de Jaratiro/U.S. Geological Survey (PD)
Interesting Facts
The volcano acquired its famous name from the village of Parícutin, which now lies buried under its lava.
The entire village was relocated to an unoccupied area nearby. Only three people were deceased because of this volcanic eruption.
A major volcanic activity was witnessed in February 1952, which was known to have been the most violent and explosive one in Parícutin's history.
The eruptions were mellow, the lava covered about 20 square miles of land for nine years, and the accumulations around the volcanic vent, gave it a steep cone-shaped appearance.
Today, this extinct cinder cone volcano stands at a height of 424 meters (1,391.08 ft) and has been quiet ever since.
Before Parícutin, Mexico had seen the formation of the Jorullo Volcano in 1759, southwest of farmer Dionisio's land.
Nevertheless, it was Parícutin that had given volcanologists and scientists a chance to study the birth, life, and death of a volcano. The "death" of a volcano implies its extinction and thus, the end of its eruptions.
It had a strombolian eruption, which means that the basaltic lava exploded through a single vent, forming cinder cones.
The volcano killed about 4,000 farm animals, and about 500 horses died because of breathing the volcanic ash. Many cane boring insects were swept out, and this destroyed cane plantations. In addition, humans, too, suffered eye irritations and experienced a suffocating feeling following the inhalation of volcanic ash.
The rains washed away the ash-laden mountain, but the pyroclastic emissions sabotaged the dams and silted the agricultural fields of the neighboring villages of Parícutin and San Juan.
Many lost crops, livestock, and also suffered substantial property damage. The agricultural land near the volcano became infertile, as it had high contents of ash.
When the volcanic activity finally ceased, plant and animal life were moderately restored.
This volcano falls under the monogenetic volcano category; meaning, it will never erupt again.
If you get a chance to visit this extinct volcano, you will notice that the San Juan Parangaricutiro church is half-buried but still intact by solidified lava.
Today, this geological formation has become a well-known tourist destination. The winding ways, glittering black soil, silent surroundings, and an impressive view, make any nature lover fall in love with the place. The Parícutin's 9,200-feet slopes are perfect for mountaineers. Horse riding, hiking, walking over lava-covered grounds, and climbing this breathtaking landscape to the lip of the caldera is truly an experience that is sure to captivate many souls. Thus, for its natural beauty and intriguing history, the youngest volcanic mountain of America surely deserves to be amongst the seven wonders of the world!
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