Thursday, June 24, 2010

Under the volcano

The smallest volcano in Mexico is the Cuexcomate, with an elevation of only 13 meters (43 feet).  This inactive volcano is regarded as the smallest one on Earth. As a tourist you can visit it and even descend into the 8 meter wide crater. The Pico de Orizaba, is the largest Mexican volcano with a height of 5636 meters (18490 feet). Its last eruption took place in 1687. After the African Kilimanjaro it is the 2nd most prominent volcanic peak in the world. Did you know that Mexico counts more than 40 volcanoes ?   In the last 25 years no less than 5 different volcanoes erupted :

1982 El Chichón
1986 Tacaná
1993 Socorro
2006 Popocatepetl
2009 Colima

For sure, volcanic eruptions are part of life in Mexico now and they were so in the past. The $100 share of the Compañia Guayulera Mexicano, dated 1906, shows a Guayule planter at rest on a hot windless afternoon. A large volcano dominates the setting.

Guayule, or scientifically said Parthenium argentatum, is a shrub that typically grows in the semi arid areas of the southwest of the USA and the north of Mexico. The plant is used as an hypoallergenic alternative to latex. In WWII, after Japan cut off America's latex resources, Guayule became a substitute for the  rubber from the plantations in Malaysia.

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