Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday's Seven Wonders - Parícutin

(Photo by Karla Yannín Alcázar Quintero)

I must admit, this is one of the natural wonders I knew nothing about - I'm not even sure I've ever heard of this volcano.

Parícutin is a cinder cone volcano in the Mexican state of Michoacán, close to a lava-covered village of the same name. Paricutín is part the Michoacán-Guanajuato Volcanic Field, which covers much of west central Mexico.

(1943 eruption)

Parícutin began as a fissure in a cornfield on February 20, 1943. The volcano grew quickly, reaching five stories tall in just a week, and it could be seen from long distances after only one month. Much of the volcano's growth occurred during its first year, while it was still in the explosive pyroclastic phase. Nearby villages Paricutín (after which the volcano was named) and San Juan Parangaricutiro were both buried in lava and ash; the residents relocated to vacant land nearby.

(I had no idea volcanos were made from the ground up! I had always assumed they were already mountains that finally erupted.)

(The cinder cone in 1943)

In one year's time the volcano had grown 1,102+ feet tall. For the next eight years the volcano continued to erupt, but they were considered quiet eruptions where the lava would scorch the surrounding 9+ square miles of land. Parícutin's activity would slowly decline until 1952 when the eruptions ended and volcano went quiet at a maximum height of 1,391 feet above the cornfield from which it was born. The volcano has been quiet since. Parícutin is a monogenetic volcano, which means that it will never erupt again.

(Photo: Getty Images)

(Paricutin lava fields - photo from Raphaelk)


Julia Smith said...

Another amazing journey to the wonders of the world, Bobbi. I definitely hadn't heard of this one, but I love the pictures of the varying degrees of scorched earth following the eruption, and today's vibrant green. And the one where the hot lava is pouring out is shivery.

Natalie said...

I had never heard of this one either. Very interesting.