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Mount Pelée
Missing image
Mount_Pelee_SI050031.jpg


Elevation:4,583 ft (1,397 m)
Coordinates: Template:Coor dms
Location:Martinique
Type:Stratovolcano

Mount Pelée (French: Montagne Pelée, "Bald Mountain") is an active volcano on the northern tip of the French département of Martinique in the Caribbean.

Mount Pelée is infamous for its 1902 eruption and the destruction that resulted, the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century.

1902 eruption

Though it was previously considered extinct, Mount Pelée erupted on May 8, 1902, destroying the town of Saint Pierre, about 4 miles south of the peak. Saint Pierre, which then served as the island's capital, had a population of some 25,000, which was swelled by refugees from minor explosions and mud flows emitting from the volcano, which began to erupt on April 25. There were only two survivors: Ludger Sylbaris, a prisoner held in an underground cell in the town's jail (later pardoned), and a man who lived at the edge of the city. Included among the victims were the passengers and crews of several ships docked at Saint Pierre.

One ship, the Roraima, which went missing on April 26, is believed to have been engulfed by ash from a preliminary explosion.

Mount Pelée continued to wreak devastation well into 1903. On August 3, 1902, some 2,000 people are believed to have died when a lava flow struck the village of Morne Rouge.

The study of the causes of the disaster marks the beginning of modern volcanology with the definition and the analysis of the deadliest volcanic hazard: the pyroclastic flows and surges, also called "nuées ardentes" (Fr:glowing clouds). The eruption has also lent its name to "The Pelean eruption style".

The destruction caused by the 1902 eruption was quickly publicized by recent modern means of communication. It brought to the attention of the public and governments the hazards and dangers of active volcanoes.

Mount Pelée is now under continuous watch by geophysicists and volcanologists (IPGP).

External links

fr:Montagne Pelée lb:Montagne Pelée fi:Mont Pelée

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