The lava flow of the Paricutin volcano in Mexico destroyed two settlements, but stopped in front of a church altar. Many tourists and pilgrims visit the exotic place today.
On February 20, 1943, on the border of the Mexican village of Paricutin, the ground opened up on the Dionisio Pulido grain field. At first, smoke and sulfur vapor billowed from the fissure, and later that evening, volcanic bombs accompanied by lightning. The next day, due to increased volcanic activity, a ten-metre-high slag cone was created, which reached 50 meters in height on the same day. In 1944, lava flows from the volcano began, mostly from small vents at the base of the cone.
Volcanic activity declined in 1949 until 1952, when the eruption ended. The height of the volcanic cone is 457 meters, and it was created in nine years and twelve days. By the way, the volcano named Paricutin after the village is one of the smallest on Earth.
However, Paricutin Volcano is not only interesting for this reason. In nine years, 2 billion cubic meters of ash and lava reached the surface, and the lava covered 25 square kilometers. Two nearby villages, Paricutin and San Juan Parangaricutero, were destroyed during the eruption, but the latter's church miraculously survived. The lava stopped right in front of the altar.
Click on the image below and see our gallery of the preserved church!