Paricutin, also known as the Volcano of Fire, is located about 60 miles west of Morelia. It is a volcano that was formed by a natural process known as Vulcanism. The eruption of Paricutin in 1943 was one of the most violent and explosive volcanic eruptions ever recorded in history. For almost 400 years before the eruption, people who lived in nearby towns saw frequent earth tremors and boiling fountains of water at the peak of what was then called El Paricutin, grasshopper hill. According to ancient legends, this hill was considered a place where evil spirits dwelled. The eruption began on February 19th, 1943 with heavy ash fall and explosive outbursts which destroyed the village of Paricutin, only 370 inhabitants escaped with their lives. Nowadays it has been completely rebuilt and its population is around 2000 inhabitants again.
Formation of Paricutin Volcano
Volcanoes are formed when molten rock (magma) that lies below the Earth's surface is pushed upwards towards the surface. It can be triggered by an earthquake or a change in the Earth's rotation or movement of the Earth's tectonic plates. This magma (molten rock) then rises to the surface and erupts from a volcano. Pre-Colombian volcanic eruptions in the Michoacán-Guanajuato Volcanic Belt (a north-south-trending volcanic belt in southwestern Mexico) formed several large stratovolcanoes such as El Venado, El Jorullo, La Manga del Diablo, Santa Clara, and Taray. These volcanoes are between 13 and 6 million years old and were produced by the subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the North American Plate.
The eruption of Paricutin began with the death of a farmer named Dionisio Pulido from nearby Tepalcatepec. He was accidentally covered with soil and ashes when he attempted to dig a well on a small hill in his cornfield. The next day, on February 19, 1943, Pulido's body and his tools were found at the bottom of the well. The story about the death of Dionisio Pulido was quickly spread through the whole region, but the people were so used to the phenomenon of frequent and strong earth tremors and water eruptions at the top of the hill that they didn’t think it strange. The eruption of Paricutin began with the death of a farmer named Dionisio Pulido from nearby Tepalcatepec. He was accidentally covered with soil and ashes when he attempted to dig a well on a small hill in his cornfield. The next day, on February 19, 1943, Pulido's body and his tools were found at the bottom of the well. The story about the death of Dionisio Pulido was quickly spread through the whole region, but the people were so used to the phenomenon of frequent and strong earth tremors and water eruptions at the top of the hill that they didn’t think it strange.
What remains now?
The eruption lasted for 10 years and destroyed the entire hill. The volcano grew in size from about 30 meters to about 600 meters. The eruption finally stopped in 1953 when the volcano reached a height of about 1400 meters. By then, the earlier hill had disappeared and had been replaced by a new cone-shaped volcano. The eruption left a layer of volcanic ash that was up to 20 meters thick and covered almost the entire region. The volcanic ash was used by farmers as fertilizer and the land became one of the most important corn-producing regions in Mexico. The new volcano has been named Paricutin. It has become a famous tourist attraction where people come to see the volcano that formed in 1943. If you want to know the story of Dionisio Pulido and other inhabitants of the region who were affected by the eruption, you can visit the museum nearby.
Tips to visit
- The Volcano of Fire can be visited any time throughout the year except during the rainy season of July to October when the roads to the volcano become impassable.
- To visit the volcano and to enjoy the view, you can go on a guided tour from the city of Morelia. They offer day trips with a guide who can tell you all about the volcano. - You can also go on a guided tour from the city of Aguascalientes.
- If you want to go on a guided tour from the city of Uruguay, it is recommended to book in advance during the high season.
How Many Visitors?
The number of visitors to the volcano has increased significantly in recent years. In 2011, the number of visitors was about 200,000. In 2017, the number had risen to 313,000. Growth may have been stronger in 2018 and 2019 due to the popularity of the nearby Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Michoacan is also famous for its cuisine
The state of Michoacán is also famous for its cuisine. The city of Márquez is a center for the production of tortas ahogadas, a type of sandwich that is said to be "drowned in sauce". This city is also the birthplace of the flan dessert. Another city, Zamora, is known for its gorditas. Put Mazorca on Your Radar, Mazorca is a state in Mexico, located in the Western-Southeastern region. The capital of this state is Morelia and it is divided into 18 municipalities. This state is also known for its cuisine, which is very popular. The most famous food of this state is the torta ahogada, which is also a food that is known worldwide.
The volcanic eruption of 1943, which formed the Paricutin Volcano, was one of the most violent and explosive volcanic eruptions ever recorded in history. The volcano has since become one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Mexico. If you’re visiting the area, make sure you pay a visit to Paricutin Volcano.