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dmhaun


Feb 20, 2017, 6:44 AM

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The 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano

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Today, February 20, is the 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano. In 1943, the volcano was born in a farmer’s cornfield in Cuiyutziro, a farming area next to the village of Paricutin.

A few weeks earlier, in Paricutin, earthquakes and tremors started occurring every few hours. Rock fences tumbled and walls of homes cracked. By noon on February 20, loud underground explosions were heard and at 3pm, the shifting earth threw Dionisio Pulido into the air. At 5pm, a large column of think, ash-intense smoke appeared, a tiny cone was formed, and a volcano was born.

By next morning, the cone had grown to 7 meters high and 20 meters in diameter at the base. By mid-morning, the lava started to advance and flowed toward Paricutin. At first, San Juan Parangaricutiro seemed to be spared.

San Juan was a vibrant community, the largest in the area and center of the municipio. The town was wealthy from the regional religious pilgrimages to their Patron Saint, unusually adored by both the Indians, speaking Tarascan and Mestizos, speaking Spanish.

Earth shifted again, the flow changed directions, and the lava increased. The wooden crosses staked in the earth by a pilgrimage from Parangaricutiro did not stop the lava. They carried their revered patron saint, the Lord of the Miracles, or El Señor de Los Milagros, who managed to save the church, but not the town.

President Lázaro Cárdenas crusaded to Paricutin, but could not convince the townsfolk to leave. In mid-July, the village of Paricutin was closed and the 500 inhabitants moved to Caltzontzin, 25 miles away, to an urban development of Uruapan. Moved, as in kicking and screaming.
About 6 months later, the village of Parangaricutiro was closed and the 800 or so inhabitants were also moved to Caltzontzin. ALSO, kicking and screaming.

The volcano was first called “El Boreaqui,” The Borehole; then “Volcan Cuiyutziro,” named from the cornfield, but quickly became “Volcan Paricutin,” totally ignoring the most famous relic of the eruption, the church steeples of Parangaricutiro.

Their story is told in postcards from the era. I hope you enjoy my collection.

Click on the web pages: 
http://www.lakepatzcuaro.org/PostCard6.html
http://www.lakepatzcuaro.org/LaDespedida.html

David
.
The Michoacan Net
Supporting the Arts in Michoacan
http://www.LakePatzcuaro.org




johanson


Feb 20, 2017, 4:37 PM

Post #2 of 7 (5914 views)

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Re: [dmhaun] The 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano

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What a great post and the pictures help let us understand what happened. I have only witnessed one volcano, and it was Mount Saint Helens, in southern Washington state which started on May 18, 1980.
If you ever witness one you will never forget it.


esperanza

Feb 21, 2017, 7:17 AM

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Re: [johanson] The 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano

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Pete, I think it's important to note the difference between what you saw at Mt. St. Helen and what happened 74 years ago in Michoacán.

Mt. St. Helens is an ancient volcano (at least 40,000 years old) that erupted violently in May 1980, spewing lava and ash that disrupted life in many parts of the world. In mid-summer 1980, I arrived in Spokane to study for a year at Gonzaga University--on the far eastern side of the state of Washington--and the streets were still lined with ash that continued to be a problem. Mt. St. Helens continues to erupt periodically, the last eruption in 2008.

The volcano Paricutín, on the other hand, was BORN 74 years ago. David's post describes that birth in a corn field. The farmer saw a curl of smoke coming from a crack in the flat earth of his cornfield, people in the area had heard the prior grumbling and growling beneath the earth's crust, earthquakes had shaken their homes. The volcano came to life where no volcano had existed before. Paricutín continues to be the only volcano on earth born in people's memory. Children who were alive when it came to life remember, but few of them are left.

A wonderful black and white documentary film exists in which some of the Purépecha people who remember the time of the eruption are interviewed; the documentary includes footage of the eruptions, which continued until 1952--an extremely long event in the world of volcanos.

One other note: although the indigenous group who lived (and continue to live) in San Juan Nuevo and throughout the western part of Michoacán were at one time called "Tarascans" and their language was known by that name, the name is a misnomer and is considered to be derogatory. The correct name is Purépecha (puh-REH-peh-cha) and the language has the same name.

Here's a link to some footage of the eruptions and their consequences, shot on site between 1945 and 1952.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9d9mbPRQCM

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









arbon

Feb 21, 2017, 8:53 AM

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Re: [esperanza] The 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano

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Has any one counted the number of volcanos in that area, we saw many from the road.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



jreboll

Feb 21, 2017, 10:55 AM

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Re: [esperanza] The 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano

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When I was in grammar school we were given a series of short stories to read and one of them was the story of Paricutin. I remember the story being exactly the way Esperanza tells it. I read this story about 50 yrs ago and I never forgot the name of Paricutin.


johanson


Feb 21, 2017, 1:18 PM

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Re: [esperanza] The 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano

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Very good point Esperanza. Adding to what you posted about Mt Saint Helens in 1980. Most of the ash headed in an easterly direction hitting Spokane and other cities to the East of the volcano. Yet there was almost no ash to the north where I was near Seattle.


playaboy

Feb 26, 2017, 5:17 AM

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Re: [dmhaun] The 74th anniversary of the eruption of the Paricutín Volcano

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I had the opportunity to visit Paricutin. You can ride horses down the lava beds to what's left of the church. There you can climb the lava surrounding the church and hike down into the buried sanctuary. It was very impressive. You can the hike the volcano too.

I also remember having the best hand made blue corn tortillas, cooked on a 55 gallon drum, at one of the food stalls by the church.
 
 
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