Pinacate Reserve


El Pirata
The awakening of the ancient dream of El Pinacate volcanic area could be brewing now, since the conditions of tectonic activity are similar to those prevailing at the time of formation there. The spectacle of this event would be a great source of lava, which erupted not be of danger to the population.
volcanologist Francisco Paz Moreno warns that conditions are ripe for rejuvenation of some of the more than 500 craters of Pinacate, which 11 are the main and although it is difficult to pinpoint the date of this phenomenon, the present generation may witness this historic event.
Ph.D. in geology, specializing in volcanic rocks and is considered the most knowledgeable person of volcanoes in this region, Peace Moreno, a professor at the University of Sonora, stresses that conditions are favorable for this recurrence in El Pinacate, but occur before a series of indicators that herald the resurgence of volcanic activity, such as earthquakes, gas emissions and thermal spring training the surface.
emphasized that there is volcanic activity in the area known as the Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California, Sonora located between the port and Santa Rosalia, Baja California.
It is also known that in the northern volcanic shield are located several hot water wells, about 300 meters deep, which would add to a possible involvement of the San Andreas fault, which runs west of the mountains of El Pinacate.
For this reason, the American geologist James Gutman requested data on the depth of these wells, but did not comment further about it. Gutman is a scholar of the volcanic area of El Pinacate and author of the first tourist guide of the site geology, written in English.
But other experts for the phenomenon of warming waters has nothing to do with the possibility of re- craters have major activity of the Sierra Pinacate, violent eruptions whose activity was recorded three million years ago.
Much of the research around this region have been carried out by Americans, who printed an overly technical style, which makes the interpretation of the events recorded throughout the history of El Pinacate, located about 180 kilometers southeast of the border city of San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora.
Although violent activity in El Pinacate began about three million years, their current lineup took place 100,000 years ago, along with the birth of the Gulf of California. Before, there was an era known as prepinacate, located about 15 million years.
For Peace volcanologist Moreno, eruptions in the crater of this area would not be dangerous and instead would be a fabulous show. In this environment one or more volcanoes appear to grow from tens or hundreds of meters high, with dimensions similar to the Cerro de la Campana, in Hermosillo.
At this time, highlights Paz Moreno, volcanic activity in the Gulf of California, specifically in the area known as Guaymas Basin, located between Guaymas, Sonora and Santa Rosalia, Baja California. They washed out four thousand feet below water level, but the eruptions took to the surface, the volcano need to grow another four miles. The lava production is very low, so it is not considered safe.
Paz Moreno remembers the last eruption is likely in El Pinacate lava has registered a thousand years ago, but this is speculative, since the timing belt is from a thousand to ten thousand years.
Associated with the same tectonic phenomenon El Pinacate, but not connected, the volcanic area is located at the point called the Mal País, located between Montezuma Tepache Divisadero and whose activity ended about 500,000 years and consists of five volcanoes diameter of 500 meters by 200 meters.
By being associated with each other, the volcanic eruptions in the Moctezuma be recorded simultaneously with El Pinacate, geologically speaking, since the difference would be between 300 and 400 years. Geology, illustrates Paz Moreno, the time unit is one million years for long-term phenomena, when for the measurement of daily life is one year.
The volcanic areas of Sonora are the El Pinacate and Montezuma Valley , but there are very discreet, almost disappeared, scattered throughout the state, among which mention may be made ​​in the Sierra Madre Occidental, in the vicinity of Hermosillo (Cerro Colorado) and Guaymas (Tetakawi), which are still asleep, not off, says Paz Moreno.
The type of volcanism is in Sonora is the phenomenon known as strain, which is a tearing of tectonic plates and has its maximum expression in the San Andreas fault. Meanwhile, the Midwest, where stands Popocatepetl, the ocean layer is getting below the continental layer, says volcanologist.

History of El Pinacate

Site used for testing at NASA's Apollo project, for his striking resemblance to the lunar soil and where they have reported sightings of the UFO phenomenon, the Sierra del
Pinacate is called by ethnic O'odham The Place of the Gods, where he was born universe.
The Biosphere Reserve of Sierra del Pinacate has a total of 714 000 hectares of volcanic considered extinct and still has 96 hectares of land similar to the core area of the moon.
The area is typical and no other equally the world-except for one similar in Hawaii for its 500 craters, 400 hills or moruza volcanoes, endless rivers of petrified lava. This is home to hundreds of plant and animal species.
The site has been shaped by the magma from the center of the earth, which has flowed to the surface in the last four million years, according to geologists who have studied there.
According regional historians in the late Miocene period, 25 million years ago, the desert region of El Pinacate was a forest that was buried by volcanic eruptions that occurred there.
El Pinacate, named for the Aztec Pinaacatl means beetle , an animal that is abundant in this area, called precisely Pinacate. This area has one of the greatest archaeological treasures of the Northwest.
In 1979, by decree of President Jose Lopez Portillo, the region came under protected area status, but it was not until June 10, 1993, which President Carlos Salinas de Gortari declared a Biosphere Reserve, with the Gran Desierto de Altar.
In the central area are scattered about 400 hills moruza - cones, which were raised by volcanic eruptions from two thousand to ten thousand years ago, according Sonoran and American researchers, whose work was compiled in the document System of Natural Protected Areas of the State of Sonora.
This type of geological structures are the most popular concept of filling the volcano and are built of pyroclastic material (molten rock fragments burst) of ash and charcoal, which were violently expelled from the ground and piled around the hole, lava source.
Each mountain has between 60 and 100 meters high and shaped like a cone, its materials are semisueltos or loose and when emerged, the eruptions took a few months to register.
The Sierra de Santa Clara or the Pinacate, a shield-shaped mountain is the central feature of the area, reaching a diameter of about 30 km and a maximum height of one thousand 500 meters.
This mountain was built by repeated eruptions that should begin at least three or four million years. Unlike moruza conical hills, this mountain has extended its slopes, which were formed when lava flowed far from the original hole.
The name of Sierra de Santa Clara was awarded by the Italian-born Jesuit priest Eusebio Francisco Kino, who in 1701 reached the summit, in their voyages of exploration and was the first to recognize the volcanic origin of the area.
At the top of the mountain there are three hills moruza, same as appeared many years after the end of this training .
In addition, the lava came out of cracks and fissures on the slopes of the mountain, filling the barrels with molten lava, so it looks as if it had cooled and hardened recently.
Meanwhile, the lava formed when it flowed from the magma, but the expelled gases were not strong enough to break it into pieces.
It was then that the liquid rock left many volcanoes and spread on the floor, where he formed two types of river rock, whose names were taken Hawaii: Lava "pahoehoe" lava and "aa". The "pahoehoe" is smooth, fluted and chocolate notes as snow, while the "aa" are crushed rock, hard, rough and sharp. Both are types of lava hundreds of meters or kilometers and have various bizarre forms.
One of the tubes or lava flows near the base of the bill "Carnegie" is a sacred place for members of the O'odham tribe Tahon , as they call themselves the Papago Indians Pimacora family.
The total volume of basaltic lava emitted is estimated at between 150 and 180 cubic kilometers. Found about 600 lava flows, of which almost 95 percent are made ​​up of "AA" and five percent by Type "pahoehoe".
At the site there are 500 craters, among them The Elegant ( its perimeter, which is an almost perfect circle), McDougal, Kino, Diaz, Cerro Colorado, Sykes, Celaya, La Luna, Badillo, Lynch and Molina. The largest is The Elegante, which is 250 meters deep and a diameter of 1, 200 meters.
By its nature, that resembles a lunar soil, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) United States, selected in 1967 to this region for experiments of the Apollo project.
Witnesses say those facts that Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11 and the first astronaut to walk on the moon on July 29, 1969, was in El Pinacate. At that time, a group of professors and teachers of San Luis Rio Colorado to the region came to learn about the American project, but, say, U.S. soldiers blocked access to the site, with the consent of the Mexican government.
Among the species are in place are wild boar, antelope, bighorn sheep, mule deer, cougar, bobcat, coyote and fox species, pigeons, reptiles, insects, spiders and frogs during the rainy season. With regard to plant species include giant saguaro, ironwood, mesquite, palo verde, a medicinal shrub called governor, chollas and prickly pear.


Well Known Member
Besides all that it's a marvelous afternoon or all day trip from Penasco. This spring will be sensational after all the rain we have had. Pack a lunch and tour. The roads are all pretty good, ok for 2 wheel drive, and directional signs are present. You pay a few pesos at the entry gate and get a map.


Well Known Member
If I remember correctly didn't one of the "volcano's" spew smoke last New Years?