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Paricutin Volcano, Mexico

Updated on January 25, 2017


The story of Paricutin is a fascinating one. From flat ground, the volcano grew to a height of 1100 feet in just one year! It appears on many versions of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Paricutin is part of a large volcanic field that covers much of west central Mexico, but Paricutin is unique due to the fact that it formed such a short time ago.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia/K.Quintero

Photo of a 1946 eruption of Paricuti­n.

Public domain photo courtesy Wikipedia

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The Pariutcin Volcano began as a small fissure in a cornfield owned by farmer Dionisio Pulido on February 20, 1943. Pulido and his family all witnessed the initial eruption of ash and stones as they plowed the field. A large percentage of the volcano's growth occurred during that first year, while it was still in the explosive pyroclastic phase. The nearby village of Paricutin (after which the volcano was named) was buried in lava and ash; the residents were forced to relocate.

At the end of this pyroclastic phase (about one year) the volcano had grown height of 1100 feet. For the next eight years the volcano would continue erupting, although this was mostly quiet eruptions of lava that would burn the surrounding land. The volcano's activity would slowly decline during this period until the last six months of the eruption, during which violent and explosive activity was often seen. In 1952, the eruption ended and Paricutin, now at a final height of 1400 feet, was finally dead. Like almost all cinder cones, Paricutin is a monogenetic volcano, which means that it is extinct, and will never erupt again.

U. S. Government public domain photo courtesy

Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Because Mount Paricutin originated from a single vent, it will never erupt again.

Creative Commons photo courtesy Wikimedia/Wolfgang Beyer

Eruption's Impact

The locals had no real folk legends in regards to volcanic eruptions in the region. But when Paricutín burst onto the scene, the past events that supposedly foretold the disaster. The initial event was a sacrilege: the removal of a huge wooden cross on a hillside in 1941. The second such event, in 1942, was one that whiffed of biblical retribution in the form of a plague of locusts. Thirdly, in 1943, a series of earthquakes rocked the region.

On February 19, 1943, the day before the Paricutin began to erupt, about 300 earthquakes hit the area. Then on February 22, with the new cone rising, the first of several geologists who would monitor and map Paricutin's behavior over the next nine years arrived on site. From then on, Paricutin was under almost constant observation: It yielded a vast amount of information that would be studied for years to come.

In the summer of 1943, during the volcano's most violent period, the cone stretched skyward to 1,100 feet, about 80% of its final height, with lava rising to about 50 feet below the crater's rim. Frequent explosions carried ash as faraway Mexico City; and virtually all of the vegetation for miles around the growing crater were destroyed.

Over the next several years, flows of lava spewed with only short periods of interruption. However in February of 1952, almost exactly nine years after Paricutin sprung to life, the volcano experienced its last major gasp of activity. By then, villages and farms were a mere memory, and the local people who worked the area land had relocated with help of the Mexican government. Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons


After the end of it's nine-year eruption, Paricutin's total height had grown to just under 1,400 feet.

Public domain photo courtesy

Detailed Paricutin Information

Wikipedia Entry

On February 20, 1943, farmer Dionisio Pulido was prepping his land for early season planting when he noticed a 150-foot fissure opening across his field. Pulido later stated how the rumbling ground "felt like thunder", he also said he witnessed the....(read more at Wikipedia)

Paricutín Volcano Video - Take a virtual tour of the volcano.

Climbing Paricutin is a popular year-round activity for tourists. To learn more about ascending Paricutin click here.

Public domain photo courtesy Wikimedia/U. S. Government

Any Thoughts on Paricuti­n? - Feel free to comment here. Thanks for visiting.

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    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      Most definitions of an active volcano are for any that erupted in the past 10,000 years. I wonder how it is determined that Paricutin is "extinct" when it erupted just over 60 years ago.

    • profile image

      eleanor-medway 4 years ago

      Great information, enjoyed the article

    • seodress profile image

      seodress 4 years ago

      Great information. This is the first time that I got through this kind of article.

    • skjk3318 lm profile image

      skjk3318 lm 4 years ago

      gosh that's soooooooo crazy. amazing the thing that occur on planet earth and how much we really DO NOT know about this stuff. does your mind go crazy thinking about all this stuff?

    • pepys profile image

      pepys 4 years ago

      You may be interested to know some additional facts on the birth of Paracutin in the State of Michoacan. As told to me by my great grand parents and my grandmother. They lived in the area and as they were travelling to their hacienda they passed close by the famous field. Suddenly a man came running, scared out of his mind as the devil was attacking his house. This was far too interesting to ignore so they followed him. Nothing was happening when they got there but as they approached the house (more like a hut) rocks from the field suddenly started to fly and hit the hut. They stopped, then started again. This went on for some time - sometimes pebbles, sometimes fist sized stones and sometimes larger rocks. Then the scene began to get much worse and the fissure appeared. I won´t go into more detailes as my great grand parents and grandmother have passed away, but to me it does add a certain flavour to the story.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I have witnessed several live volcanoes, the smoke is tremendous. I never would have anticipated the magnitude of an eruption if I had not witnessed it myself.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Nice lens. First time I've ever heard of an extinct volcano.

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      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Generally volcanoes are considered active if they've erupted in the last 10,000 years. You sure it's extinct and can't erupt again?

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 4 years ago

      this is great stuff, I was not aware of this particular volcano. thanks, great lens!!

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 4 years ago

      Volcanoes are fascinating. Thanks

    • DonMiguel1 profile image

      DonMiguel1 4 years ago

      I had hear this story in the past, but it was great to learn more about it in such great detail. Thanks! This is a great lens....

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      How do they know it won't erupt again? Hope it doesn't though. Interesting lens.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Volcanoes are fascinating. Amazing how quickly they can grow so catastrophically.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      Great informative lens and liked the quizzes.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Now I was sure I blessed this when I was here in September but it wasn't showing, glad I peeked back in. You must have added the quiz after I was here....guess I should have reviewed a bit more before taking it....didn't do as well as expected.

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 5 years ago

      Wooowwww..great lens...

    • bofirebear profile image

      bofirebear 5 years ago

      I have seen it but have not climbed it yet.

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      gradientcat 5 years ago

      It would be interesting to visit this volcano.

    • BorisStewart profile image

      BorisStewart 5 years ago

      Wow! Amazing..

    • scary-masks profile image

      scary-masks 5 years ago

      Cool info - or perhaps that should be hot!

    • profile image

      MotorolaDigitalVideoBabyMonitor 5 years ago

      Worth for thumbs up my friend:)...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You just do such interesting articles! I don't think I'd heard of the Paricutín Volcano before but in a way it sounds vaguely familiar, I think that it qualifies as a wonder, it certainly took the locals by surprise and interesting that it was related to a sacrilege a few years earlier, we do try to find reasons and meaning for things we can't understand. Excellent once again and Paricutín still fascinates!

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      I was in Palenque ( El Chichón)years ago when the one there erupted.

      It was pretty scary listening to tree branches break off from weight of ash.

      There must have been a foot or two of that stuff on the ground making it impossible for the livestock to graze.

    • profile image

      acregmed 5 years ago

      Great lens!

      A tongue-twister in spanish about Paricutin and its town Parangaricutirimicuaro at Michoacan State:

      "El volcan de Parangaricutirimicuaro

      se quiere desparangaricutirimicuarizar

      el que lo desparangaricutirimicuarizare

      será un gran desparangaricutirimicuarizador"

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Quite scary to think how quickly this turned into an 1400ft volcano.

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      I didn't realize that there was a volcano in Mexico. I've been to Costa Rica right before Arenal erupted -- it is pretty amazing to be in the presence of an active volcano.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'ven been there, it was great.

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 5 years ago

      Great lens - awesome photos! I've added this to my "definitely must see" list. Angel Blessed!

    • PennyHowe profile image

      PennyHowe 5 years ago

      Great photos and info. Thanks. What town in Mexico is it close to?

    • HeartBroken62 profile image

      HeartBroken62 5 years ago

      Nice work...enjoyed! Thank You for doing such a good job.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very interesting and well made lens.. Volcanoes are fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Natural phenomena is always something I like to learn about. Nicely done! :)

    • jacinto888 profile image

      jacinto888 5 years ago

      Interesting lens, I remember reading this story in grade school, Thanks for sharing!

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      thomanna 5 years ago

      Volcanoes have always held my interest.

    • sarahrk lm profile image

      sarahrk lm 5 years ago

      So very interesting. Enjoyed this lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I enjoyed learning about the Paricutin Volcano but I didn't do too well on the quiz but did pass it. Guess I need to read more carefully. Thanks for all this great information.

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      gosssysas 6 years ago

      videos are good

    • craftblogger lm profile image

      craftblogger lm 6 years ago

      Enjoyed learning about Paricutin Volcano and taking your quiz.

    • ernieplotter profile image

      ernieplotter 6 years ago

      Beautiful place and a magnificent work of mother nature. Nice Lens!

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      yurosie 6 years ago

      Gunung Kelud is Vulcano dengerous from kediri, east java, Indonesia.

      Century 21

    • profile image

      seosmm 6 years ago

      Lots of good info. Very nice lens!

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 6 years ago

      Fascinating! I didn't know that volcanoes could have a "life" and then become extinct like that in such a short time.

    • hughgrissettsr lm profile image

      hughgrissettsr lm 6 years ago

      lovely lens!

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      bostonphil 6 years ago

      A Wonderful Lens!!!!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      wouldn't want to watch a volcano explode in person, tv is where its at, 'thumbs up' on your lens.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 6 years ago

      only the church tower can be seen in one of the lens photo, this is exactly the same as the mayon volcano of the philippines. only that mayon has the most-perfect cone.

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      A very informative lens. Blessed

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Volcanoes are fascinating. Thanks for sharing the history about this interesting volcano.

    • adamfrench profile image

      adamfrench 6 years ago

      Interesting list

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great lens; i love all that involves Earth

    • pimbels lm profile image

      pimbels lm 6 years ago

      I find them very fascinating, but also scary. Great lens, thank you.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      Great lens, volcanoes with their force, unpredictability, and potential to change a map always fascinate me... and I learned a lot from the lens as I didn't know about Paricutin up till know


    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 6 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens. Very interesting and well made..Thanks for sharing! Nice work.

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 6 years ago

      I'd like to check it out!

    • joanv334 profile image

      joanv334 6 years ago

      Hello, thanks for sharing!

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      This lens is interesting. I have never heard of Paricutin volcano until now. This story is worth sharing.

    • mannasugar profile image

      mannasugar 7 years ago

      How close can you get safely to an erupting volcano?

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very interesting...blessed and added to my December Blessing lens.

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 7 years ago

      Cool info. I thought this was about Paringaricutirimicuaro when I first stopped by. I have that on my Spanish Memory Work lens.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      Fascinating information. Good to know it is now a dead volcano.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 7 years ago from US

      Wow, some really interesting information! Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very informative and quite an interesting account of a volcano that has caused destruction but now is dead. Volcanoes have known to be very fierce and caused catastrophe with many loss of lives, yet some of them which are dead or semi-alive make an interesting learning on many phenomenon of earth's geography and crust.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Interesting story. I wish you had a map demonstrating where it is in Mexico. I lived on the western side of the Sierra Madre in Jalisco and Nayarit for quite awhile.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 7 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful....I had no idea...thanks for some enlightenment :)

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Pretty interesting. I pity the poor farmer who saw his field turn into a volcano. That's cool, though that there's now a hill there that won't ever erupt again.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 7 years ago

      Wow, very interesting, but I hope to never experience a volcano being born right under my feet!

    • profile image

      kt_glasses 7 years ago

      fascinating lens! love the story!

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 7 years ago from Western Mass

      quite a creation story

    • KokoTravel profile image

      KokoTravel 7 years ago

      You 've sparked my interest and given me another place in Mexico to explore! Thanks!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Very fascinating story!

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 7 years ago from California

      Oo, this is one of my favorite volcano stories! I remember hearing about it from my Mom -- I've got a lot of scientists in my family, so dinner table convos often resemble National Geographic specials. Short but very good lens.

      I answered "yes" to your poll, because one of my most treasured memories is watching Pu'u O'o, a cinder cone on the side of Kilauea, transition from monthly eruptions to the lava lake that's been there for --good grief, has it been 24 years now? Yep, I was watching when Kupaianaha opened up (I think it was July 17, 1986). It's been erupting almost constantly since the moment I arrived, so I keep half an eye on Pu'u O'o and its webcams.