How shocked will you be to witness a pit on your land suddenly starts to smoke, swelled to form a fracture, and then erupt to become a volcano?
There are very few such incidents in history when people can see a new volcano emerging from virtually nowhere. Parícutin is one such volcano that was born out of nowhere, and the pictures of its eruption are more than worth witnessing. Let us take you over a series of images that show the volcano from its birth to its explosion.
Smoking Parícutin volcano
Some people consider Parícutin volcano as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. It is indeed one of the wonderful geomorphological landscapes of the Earth. The name “Parícutin” derived from Purepecha or Tarascan language. However, its meaning was “to the other side.” Just like the name implies, the birth of this volcano revealed the mesmerizing secrets of the deep Earth.
The appearance of a volcano in a farmer’s cornfield
Parícutin volcano was born during the twentieth century on a private Mexican cornfield owned by Dionisio Pulido. Dionisio, who was a farmer, surprisingly saw vapor emanating from a hollow. Shortly afterward, he witnessed the beginning of a unique event of a volcano being created.
The first morphological feature that associates with the birth of the Parícutin volcano happened in Dionisio Pulido’s cornfield in August 1942. That is the formation of a slight depression around a pre-existing pit of 5 meters diameter and 1.5 meters depth.
Fifteen days prior to the actual birth of the volcano, subterranean noise, high seismic activity, and tremors appeared in the Sun Juan Parangaricutiro area. The actual eruption began only on February 20, 1943, around 4:00 pm. Dionisio Pulido and his family became the first to witness this extraordinary phenomenon.
Dionisio and his family worked on their land on this historical day, clearing it for spring planting. Then, all of a sudden, the ground nearby swelled upward and formed a fracture of 2 – 2.5 meters across.
According to the family, they have heard hissing sounds. Then smoke that smelled like rotten eggs emerged from the ground indicating the existence of hydrogen sulfide. Within hours, the fissure has developed into a small cavity.
Pulido’s confession literally gives us chills!
He reported that at 4 pm, he left his wife to set fire to a pile of branches. That is when he noticed that a crack, located on one of the knolls of my farm, had opened! Then he saw that it was a fissure of only half a meter depth. He felt thunder, the trees were trembling, and it was then he saw the hole on the ground has swollen. It raised itself 2 or 2.5 meters high, and a cloud of smoke or fine grey dust like ashes began to rise in a portion of the crack. Instantaneously more smoke began to rise with a loud and continuous hiss, and there was a smell of sulfur.
When he was trying to find his family and oxen, they had disappeared; so, he rode his horse to the town. There he could find his family and friends, and they were happy to see him alive. After this, the volcano grew fast and aggressively.
Volcano smoking over the corn fields
Let us look into another confession by another witness of the eruption on the first night, Celedonio Gutierrez. According to him, when night began to fall, they heard noises like the sea surge. Then red flames of fire rocketed into the dark sky, some rising 800 meters or more into the air. Finally, they burst like golden marigolds, and rain like fireworks fell to the ground.
Parícutin volcano’s flames of fire reaching the sky
Parícutin volcano was active for nine years. During its nine years of activity, scientists sketched and mapped the volcano and took thousands of samples and photographs.
Its most significant eruption occurred by 1952, and the eruption reached up to a 424-meter high cone. This was a disastrous eruption with the ejection of volcanic ash, stone, and lava. In addition, this incident significantly damaged the nearby premises causing disaster over an area of more than 233 square kilometers.
That is not all!
The eruption killed three neighborhood people, and lava flow completely swallowed two towns. The said misfortune also got three other cities severe damage. Hundreds of people had no other choice but to relocate permanently, and authorities build two new towns to accommodate these migrants.
The volcano was a star
Parícutin volcano has always been a star among the destination hunters. It suddenly appeared from nowhere and created one of the most magnificent landscapes on Earth. Therefore, of course, it was famous!
Visitors did not even care about the ongoing Second World War when they set their minds on visiting this volcano. The eruption drew attention from across the world, with reporters from newspapers and magazines. The famous Life Magazine also came to cover the story. Thanks to them! Most of the pictures arranged in this article are part of the Life Magazine collection.
The volcanic ash gathered on the rooftop.
The emitted volcanic ash.
The town of San Juan covered with volcanic dust before being covered in lava.
The San Juan Parangaricutiro church tower rises above a lava field.
Cinder cone in 1943.
A Color photograph of Parícutin volcano
The volcano also became a tourist hot spot. Angahuan provided the primary access from where visitors could grasp the most iconic view of the volcano. Even until this day, this town remains one of the main tourist attractions. They offer facilities like guides and horses for two main activities. Visitors can visit the ruins of the San Juan Parangaricutiro Church as well as climb the magnificent volcano.