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The Daily Volcano Quote: the lessons of Mont Pelée 11 March 2009

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The most impressive part of Pelee’s lesson is the tale of terrible mortality due to the ill-chosen site of St. Pierre. The convex slopes of the great dome stretching northward and eastward from the crater are still clad in verdure; Morne Rouge, the high-lying suburb on the principal salient stretching out from the crater, suffered nothing more serious than startling tremors and disagreeable dust-showers; it was only in the topographic funnel leading from the crater to the indented roadstead that the destruction was complete. Looking back over her history, it is easy to see that St. Pierre was founded with no more foresight than that of the spider spinning her web across a frequented path; the sacrifice of the city was but the necessary price of shortsight; yet if future dwellers on the Antilles, and the folk of other volcano-ridden regions, but profit by the experience of St. Pierre, the sacrifice may not be wholly vain.

W. J. McGee, ‘The Antillean volcanoes’, Popular Science Monthly, July 1902, p. 278.

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1. damon hynes - 12 March 2009

And Morne Rouge got whacked in August, pride goeth before the fall…

Sure Sainte-Pierre was sited badly, but for the vagaries of dome growth and subsequent erosion Morne Rouge might have been hit first, etc.

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