The city of Saint-Pierre is located on the coast, 6 km from the Mont Pele volcano, whose height reaches 1400 m. The proximity of the volcano, which at times threw out ash clouds, was not taken seriously. Moreover, on the nearby slopes, local farmers successfully engaged in agriculture until a disaster struck ...
At 8 a.m. on May 8, 1902, an eruption occurred with a magnitude of 4 on the VEI scale. An incandescent stream of pyroclastic particles hit the coast at a speed of about 100 km / h.
The volcano erupted clouds of heated volcanic gas and dust, destroying everything in the ten-kilometer zone. The explosion instantly killed over 30, 000 of the island's inhabitants. Oddly enough, the devastating pyroclastic stream that swept over Saint-Pierre left only a few centimeters of ash. The destruction here was caused by a rather rarefied, but energetically very powerful mixture of hot air and ash (the so-called pyroclastic wave).
The only survivor of the disaster was a local prisoner named Ludger Silbaris. He was put in solitary confinement in the basement and this saved his life. During the eruption, when the temperature in the cell began to rise, he wet his clothes and shook his head. August was found only on the third day, and the authorities gave him an amnesty. After that, he began to work as a guide and show the site of the disaster to tourists.
The city never recovered from the destruction and even today, more than 100 years after the disaster, its population is only a few thousand. Peli is one of the most active volcanoes in the West Indies, it is believed that it can erupt again at any moment.