2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Central & South American Geography


Parícutin in 1994
Elevation 3,170 metres (10,400 ft)
Location Michoacán, Mexico
Prominence 424 metres
Coordinates 19.493° N 102.251° W
Type Cinder cone
Age of rock 1943-present
Last eruption 1952

Parícutin (or Volcan de Parícutin) is a volcano in the Mexican state of Michoacán, close to a lava-covered village of the same name. It appears on many versions of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World list.

It started as a fissure in a cornfield owned by Tarascan Indian farmer Dionisio Pulido on February 20, 1943. Pulido, his wife, and son, all witnessed the initial eruption of ash and stones first-hand as they plowed the field. 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.

At the end of this phase after roughly one year the volcano had grown 336 metres tall. For the next eight years the volcano would continue erupting, although this was dominated by relatively quiet eruptions of lava that would scorch the surrounding 25 km² of land. The volcano's activity would slowly decline during this period until the last six months of the eruption, during which violent and explosive activity was frequent. In 1952 the eruption ended and Parícutin went quiet, attaining a final height of 424 metres above the cornfield from which it was born. The volcano has been quiet since. Like most cinder cones, Parícutin is a monogenetic volcano, which means that it will never erupt again.

Volcanism is a common part of the Mexican landscape. Paricutín is merely the youngest of more than 1,400 volcanic vents that exist in the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. The volcano is unique in the fact that its formation was witnessed from its very conception. Amazingly not one recorded death was caused by the eruption, although three people died as a result of lightning strikes caused by the eruptions.

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