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Album: destinations:Mexico:Volcan Paricutin

This was an amazing side trip on my stop-filled route back to Guadalajara from Toluca. I read a short paragraph about this volcano in my Mexico guide and instantly remembered reading this before during my early years of grade school. I had to see it myself.

On 20 Feb 1943 Dionisio Pulida, a local farmer, was working his land when the earth rumbled and he noticed smoke and a crack in his field. At first he attempted to fill in the crack with dirt but soon it enlarged and steam and then lava began to issue. This was the birth of a new volcano. Soon lava oozed forth and evacuations resulted. During nine years of activity lava flows buried several small villages and the cinder cone grew to 424 meters (1,391 feet) and developed two secondary, parasitic cones or bocas de lava. Total lava flows measured 25 km2.

Today there are still fumeroles issuing steam but no other activity. It is interesting to note that the landscape is covered in similarly sized and shaped volcanos and the famous Alexander von Humboldt described another volcano named Jorullo to the south which developed just like this one back in September 1759.

Perhaps even more interesting than the cone is the former church at San Juan Parangaricutiro. This tiny village was one of the unfortunates to be in the path of the slow moving lava flows. Everything but the church was obliterated when the lava arrived.

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Album created by album a tool written by David LjungSun Mar 15 00:14:34 2009

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