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Mont Pelee

Listed under Volcanoes in Martinique.

  • Photo of Mont Pelee
  • Photo of Mont Pelee
  • Photo of Mont Pelee
  • Photo of Mont Pelee
  • Photo of Mont Pelee
  • Photo of Mont Pelee
Photo of Mont Pelee
Photo by Mike Lyvers
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On Ascension Day in May 1902, Mont Pelee erupted, incinerating the port city of St. Pierre - then known as the Paris of the Caribbean - and its 30,000 inhabitants in less than two minutes. This catastrophe shocked the world and was a seminal event in the history of volcanology. At that time, the nature of the terrible super-hot cloud that annihilated St. Pierre was not understood; today we call it a pyroclastic flow, the deadliest of all volcanic phenomenon. St. Pierre has since been partially re-built but is only a small town compared to its pre-1902 glory days. A number of interesting ruins from the eruption can be explored, and currently dormant Mont Pelee can be climbed in a couple of hours from a radio tower near the town of Morne Rouge. The summit is dominated by two lava domes, one from the 1902 eruption and another from the less intense 1929 eruption. The volcanological museum in Morne Rouge is well worth a visit too.

Written by  Mike Lyvers.

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