5 comments on “Mont Pelee, Martinique

  1. It was a cruise port call many years ago. I had expectations of hiking up the mountain, with the summit was crowded with clouds so a tour of Saint Pierre had to serve. What struck me there were that the foundations of the many of buildings still revealed scorch marks left by that horrific event.


    • Not uncommon for locales to leave reminders of previous awfulness as reminders for future visitors. Didn’t know about Saint Pierre’s buildings. I think I am impressed. OTOH, I’ve seen bullet holes in buildings at Hickam AB on Oahu from the Pearl Harbor attack. Either / both are a not so subtle suggestion from current management to current visitors not to forget the past. Cheers –


    • Interesting question. My guess is no, that whatever is done to stabilize the cone will only make it more unstable. One of the things about volcanoes is that the cones are unstable. Even the shields (think Hawaii) collapse. Water is almost always involved via a hydrothermal system, especially in stratovolcanoes. There is a point when you build a pile of loosely consolidated stuff, that it gets too steep to retain its shape. You can see how this works with a pile of dry sand, sugar, even flour. Snow does the same thing on a slope where layers break loose to avalanche. Cheers –


  2. Very torough article.
    I can recommend downloading the seminal book (in french) by Lacroix (he was a top mineralogist and was sent by the French state to investigate – he is one of the founder of modern volcanology, as he studied the eruptive rocks and determined the minerals).


    In the book you will find many pictures taken during his investigations. He several times nearly lost his life to pyroclastic flows – and, it is to be notified, was working with his wife you can see sometimes on the pictures.

    the description of the eruption is around p 230
    you have also many pictures describing the damages taken just after the man eruption. Some are quite graphic

    I’ve been there in 2008 and the town is now kind of sleepy, with many ruins still visible and a good museum. But the memory of the eruption is still quite sharp, transmitted along the generations. Some people still fear to get on the volcano by superstition.


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