Sunday, January 8, 2012

Paricutin Volcano

It was of 20 February 1943 when a Mexican farmer in the Mexican state of Michoacan he was readying his fields for springs sowing when ground nearby opened a crack about 150 feet long. He described that then he felt thunder and the trees were trembling then he seen in the hole the ground swelled and raised itself 21/2 meters high, then a kind of smoke or fine dust-gray like ashes began to rise with a loud whistling sound continuously and there was smell of sulfur in the air. He got so much frightened and tried to help unyoke one of the ox teams.

Eventually that was the volcano which born under the feet of the farmer.  Pulido and the other people escaped from that place. The next morning when they came back they saw that the cone was grown to the height of 30 feet and was uttering with great force. During the daytime it grew 120 feet more and in that night incandescent bombs blew more than 1,000 feet up into the darkness and then a slag like mass of lava rolled over Pulido’s cornfields.

This sudden volcano’s appearance stunned the whole scientific world as well as to that unlucky farmer also. Volcanic eruptions around the world are common but the birth of an entirely new volcano from the surface of the earth is purely rare.

If we look on the history about birth of new volcanoes in North America only two volcanoes have appeared in historic times. One was in Western Mexico’s Jorullo in 1759 almost 50 miles southeast of Dionisio Pulido’s property. The second was born 183 years later in the field of Pulido it was named Paricutin, on the name of nearby village, that village was destroyed because of that volcano appearance.

Paricutin and Jorullo both appeared in the Mexican Volcanic Belt. This belt is about 700 miles from east to west across southern Mexico. According to the geologists that dramatic volcanic eruptive activity deposited a layer of volcanic rock some 6,000 feet thick, which created a high and fertile plateau. During summer season the heights dramatically drags in moist breezes from the Pacific Ocean that make its climate pleasant and ideal that made its lands rich farmlands that’s why this belt is the most populous.

Although this region is already having three largest cities of the region, Mexico city, Puebla and Guadalajara that’s the area around 200 miles west of the capital and was still a peaceful backwater inhabited by Tarascan Indians in the early 1940s. This zone is loveliest place of Mexico that never experienced any volcanic activity during historic times. Though hundreds of no longer burning cones rose around the small valleys, the only breakout of a volcano in human memory had been that of distant Jorullo.

The Tarascan is not having any folk legends regarding volcano births in that area. But the dramatic appearance of Paricutin made them to look back to know to get the indication from past about the great change.

If we look in history record about this area its year wise is like this:

  • In 1941 destruction of wooden cross on a hillside.
  • In 1942 a plague of locusts.
  • In the beginning of 1943 a series of earthquakes started.
Now if we look on the above signs sequence 1st one was a sacrilege, 2nd was biblical retribution and 3rd is a series of earthquakes a resident of this area he told that time there was so many noises coming from the center of the earth.

A day before the break out of volcano in February 19 almost 300 earthquakes shaken the ground then on February 22 the new cone started rising and fiery skyrockets descending. The geologists who were monitoring and mapping the behavior of Paricutin from last nine years arrived. Paricutin was constantly under observation. Because of that constant observation the geologists gained a treasure of information including unique fleeting glimpses of ephemeral features.

New volcanic phenomena and process were sometimes obliterates almost as soon as they were recorded, especially during Paricutin’s first year of violent, explosive growth and change. The cone topped 1,100 feet that year, that’s the four-fifths of its final height and time of its eruption the explosions echoed all over the state of Michoacan, the ash snowed on faraway from Mexico City and almost all the vegetation for miles around the crater was destroyed.

The summer of 1943 was the most violent period of the volcano. Lava rose to about 50 feet below the mouth of the volcano till its outer edge. That opened a new passage explosively at the cone’s base, fountaining lava high into the sky. The lava destroyed all nearby villages that year.

After few years lava flow continued with little interruption. In 1952 right nine years after the birth of the Paricutin, the volcano experienced its last major spasm of activity. But till then all villages and farms were already relocated with help of government.


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