Mt Pelée Volcano | John Seach


Montagne Pelée
Martinique, West Indies

14.82 N, 61.17 W
summit elevation 1397 m

The 1902 eruption of Mt Pelée, destroyed the city of St. Pierre, and became the type-example of Pelean eruptions and marked the onset of modern volcanological studies of the behavior of pyroclastic flows.

The 1902 eruption of Pelée was one of the greatest volcanic disasters of the 20th Century. There were only a few survivors from St. Pierre.

In 1900 there was increased fumarolic activity at the volcano. Eruptions began in April 1902. On May 2, 1902 there were loud explosions and forceful ash emissions from the volcano. The volcano erupted with a pyroclastic flow on 8th may 1902 which reached the city of St. Pierre. On 20th May 1902 there was a second eruption equal in size to the 8th May eruption.

In October 1902, a volcanic spine grew to a height of 272 m above the lava dome. The spine collapsed in 1903.

The most recent eruptions in 1929-32 produced central vent explosions, pyroclastic flows, lahars, and lava dome extrusion.

Further reading
Smith, A.L. and Roobol, M.J., 1990. Mt. Pelée, Martinique: a study of an active island-arc volcano (Vol. 175). Geological Society of America.

Martel, C., Pichavant, M., Bourdier, J.L., Traineau, H., Holtz, F. and Scaillet, B., 1998. Magma storage conditions and control of eruption regime in silicic volcanoes: experimental evidence from Mt. Pelée. Earth and Planetary Science Letters156(1-2), pp.89-99.

Westercamp, D. and Traineau, H., 1983. The past 5,000 years of volcanic activity at Mt. Pelée Martinique (FWI): implications for assessment of volcanic hazards. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research17(1-4), pp.159-185.

Mt Pelée Volcano Eruptions

1929-32, 1902-05, 1851-52, 1792, 1635.