It is extremely rare volcanologists have the opportunity to observe the evolution of the volcano: its birth, growth and extinction. Parícutin – one of the few volcanoes, whose birth was recorded modern mankind.
Parícutin – the youngest volcano in North America, is located about 200 miles from Mexico City, in the volcanic region of Michoacán-Guanajuato.
The first eruption occurred Parícutin February 20, 1943 directly to the corn field Mexican village that gave its name to the new volcano. The eruptions continued until 1952. During this time the volcano has reached the height of 2774 meters above sea level (given the fact that it is located on a plateau), streamed lava has covered more than 25 square kilometers of the surrounding countryside.
One of the first photos, fixed the birth of a new volcano.
In the weeks before the eruption, the villagers felt small tremors, accompanied by muffled peals. February 20, 1943 the farmer, Dionisio Pulido, and his wife, Paula, saw a bush on fire in their cornfield. Approaching the fire place, they saw in front of the increasing cracks in the ground and a hole about 2 meters in diameter. From the hole and heard a hiss rose from the acrid smoke smell of hydrogen sulfide. Frightened farmers left the scene without even knowing that witnessed the birth of a new volcano.
The next day, Dionisio with several residents of the village went to explore the site in detail. What they saw surprised and frightened local residents is not a joke: the sky rose the sharp edges of the rocks, everything steamed, and the cone grew up in his eyes. A day later, the cone has reached 50 meters in height, a week later, when the height reached 100 meters from the crater of the volcano flowed hot lava.
In March, the eruption intensified, columns of smoke up to several kilometers in height. The most intense eruption lasted for the first year: the thick smoke, ash, sulfur and evaporation of lava flows make people stay in the area extremely dangerous. Villagers Parícutin and neighboring San Juan Parangaricutiro were timely evacuated, none of the residents was injured.
By August 1944, the village was almost completely covered with lava and ash, today only ruins of the church of San Juan Parangaricutiro rise above the scorched surface of the earth.
Over the next nine years, the volcano continued to erupt relatively quiet. In 1952, the eruption ended and the volcano “fell asleep.” Today the volcano height is 424 meters and it is classified as an extinct volcano. Scientists refer to the group Parícutin monogenetic volcanoes erupting once.
The birth of the volcano has caused interest not only among the scientific world, but also the region’s population as a whole. Every year, on the eve of the Easter holiday, the locals celebrate day of birth of the volcano, making a pilgrimage to the site of the destroyed village. The foot of the volcano – a popular tourist route and the nearby village Angahuan – an excellent vantage point from which to enjoy an unforgettable view of the volcano and the surrounding Parícutin its lava field.
In addition, the American airline “Pan Am” even opened a new regular route between Los Angeles and Mexico, in order that the passengers were able to see the “newborn” Parícutin.