Paricutin, 1946. Photograph by K. Segerstrom, U.S. Geological Survey.

Paricutin, March 1944. From Foshag and Gonzalez-Reyna (1956).

Rarely do volcanologist get to watch the birth, growth, and death of a volcano. Paricutin provided such an opportunity. The eruption that created Paricutin began in 1943 and continued to 1952. Most of the explosive activity was during the first year of the eruption when the cone grew to 1,100 feet (336 m). The cone continued to grow for another 8 years but added only another 290 feet (88 m). Effusive activity began on the second day and continued to the end of the eruption. Lava flows covered about 10 square miles (25 square km) and had a volume of about 0.3 cubic miles (1.4 cubic km). The rate of eruption declined steadily until the last 6 months of the eruption when violent explosions were frequent and violent. No one was killed by lava or ash. However, three people were killed by lightning associated with the eruption.

Paricutin. Photograph by K. Segerstrom, U.S. Geological Survey, September 30, 1948.

The church at Paricutin. Photograph by K. Segerstrom, U.S. Geological Survey, 1948.

Go here to view a slide show on the evolution of Paricutin prepared by Scott Rowland.


Sources of Information:

Foshag, W.F., and Gonzalez-Reyna, J., 1956, Birth and development of Paricutin volcano: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 965-D, p. 355-489.

Hasenaka, T., and Carmichael, I.S.E., 1985, The cinder cones of Michoacan-Guanajuanto, central Mexico: their age, volume, and distribution, and magma discharge rate: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 25, p. 105-124.

Luhr, J. and Simkin, T., 1993, Paricutin: A Volcano Born in a Mexican Cornfield: Phoenix, Geoscience Press, 427 p.

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Cinder Cone