Photo Information

Remains of building destroyed by eruption of El Chichon, Mexico
Photograph by R.I. Tilling on June 1, 1982

Remnant of a building in Francisco Leon that was destroyed by pyroclastic flows and surges during the eruption of El Chichon volcano in southeastern Mexico between March 29 and April 4, 1982. Francisco Leon was located about 5 km SSE of the volcano. The reinforcement rods in the concrete wall are bent in the direction of flow (right to left).

Several pyroclastic surges swept down all sides of the volcano, reaching as far as 2 to 8 km from the volcano; pyroclastic flows represent only about 30 percent of the total combined mass of surges and flows. In addition to Francisco Leon, eight other villages were destroyed, claiming the lives of up to 2,000 people.


Sigurdson, H., Carey, S.N., and Fisher, R.V., 1987, The 1982 eruptions of El Chichon volcano, Mexico (3): physical properties of pyroclastic surges: Bulletin of Volcanology, vol 49, p. 467- 488.

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