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Volcano Characteristics

Volcanoes are found at plate boundaries or hot spots and they may be active, dormant or extinct.

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A Volcano Grows in a Cornfield

A Volcano Grows in a Cornfield

Credit: K. Segerstrom, U.S. Geological Survey
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paricutin_30_612.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Volcan Paricutin is not the largest or the most violent volcano, but it is the only volcano we know of that grew in a cornfield.

Amazing But True!

  • In 1943, a volcano grew out of a cornfield in Michoacán, Mexico.
  • A few weeks before the eruption, earthquakes rumbled in the ground.
  • The cinder cone erupted ash and lava for 9 years.
  • Credit: R.E. Wilcox, U.S. Geological Survey
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paricutin_30_613.jpg
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Paricutin, Mexico eruption at night - 1943 [Figure2]

  • The cone grew to 424 meters before it stopped erupting.

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With the links below, learn more about Paricutin Volcano. Then answer the following questions.

  1. How did the cone of Paricutin build?
  2. Why did the local residents need to evacuate their towns?
  3. Describe the evolution of the eruptions from beginning to end.
  4. Why was Paricutin unusual for a cinder cone?
  5. Why did Paricutin grow in this location?
  6. Do you think that Paricutin is active, dormant or extinct and why?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: K. Segerstrom, U.S. Geological Survey; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paricutin_30_612.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: R.E. Wilcox, U.S. Geological Survey; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paricutin_30_613.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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