Geography

Facts about Paricutin volcano

15 facts about Paricutin volcano

Volcano in a cornfield

On February 20, 1943, a Mexican farmer Dioniso Pulido observed a small crack in his cornfield, and the ground nearby shook and became hot. About a month later, columns of volcanic ash began to emerge from the crack and a volcanic cone began to rise before the eyes of the villagers of Paricutin.
1
Paricutin volcano is located in central Mexico, in the state of Michoacán.
Michoacán is a state in the southwestern part of the country. Its name, given by the Aztecs, means "place of those who have fish". Two mountain ranges cross the state: the Sierra del Sur and the Trans-Mexican Volcanic. There are more than 80 volcanoes (including Pico de Tancítaro, Patamban and Paricutin) and Mexico's largest inland body of water, Lake Chapala.
2
Paricutin is the youngest volcano in the area - it was formed in 1943.
The formation of the volcano was observed both by volcanologists and by the natives of the Purépecha ( Tarascans ) tribe.
3
The process of volcano formation began on February 20, 1943, with the formation of a fissure in a cornfield.
The formation and opening of the fissure was preceded by mysterious thunders heard by the inhabitants of the small village of Paricutin several weeks earlier.
4
During the first day of activity of the newly formed volcano has grown by 50 meters.
After a week, its height has doubled.
5
The volcano's formation process was observed by residents of nearby villages leading everyday lives during the event.
The volcano's activity increased after a month when it began to spew volcanic ash into the air and covered the roofs of nearby settlements of Paricutin and San Juan Parangaricutiro.
6
The evacuation of villages began as early as July 1943, when lava flows approached their borders.
7
The first year of the volcano's formation was the most intense period of its activity. At that time, a cone 275 m high was formed.
The volcano ejected mainly pyroclastic (ejecta) material. Ejecta, or the crumbly products of a volcanic eruption, are formed by spraying liquid lava, solidifying it in the air, and pulverizing rocks crushed by the explosion.
8
Paricutin is a volcano of the cinder cone type.
Cinder cones are steep, cone-shaped volcanoes that form around a volcanic vent. They are often characterized by a symmetrical structure. Paricutin volcano is no different in this respect.
9
Throughout the eight years of the volcano's activity, there were only quiet outpourings of lava.
More violent eruptions occurred only in the last six months of Paricutin activity.
10
Paricutin's activity finally ceased in 1952.
11
The current elevation of Paricutin is 3170 m above sea level.
The volcano's crater has prominence of 208 m and is about 200 meters in diameter.
12
One of the villages that was completely engulfed by the eruption is San Juan Parangaricutiro.
The only evidence of the village is the ruined church protruding above a lava and ash field.
13
The church has partially collapsed, with only two towers transcending above the solidified lava's surface.
The altar also survived because the flowing lava stopped right in front of it. This event was considered a clear miracle. Locals believe that God saved the church and visit it to pray. 

They moved the image of Christ from the altar to the church in Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro, a new village founded by people from settlements engulfed by the volcano.
14
Paricutin is currently dormant and became a tourist attraction.
People climb on it and walk around the vent. Despite the lack of volcanic activity, it is still hot and emits steam on occasion.
15
Despite its inactivity, the region is still seismically active, and Paricutin may awaken at any time.
As it is considered dormant, not extinct, the probability of future eruptions is high. It may happen in a year or in a few hundred years, but Paricutin probably hasn't said its last word yet.