Precursor Volcanic Activity
Historically, only minor amounts of activity had been
reported from Mont Pelee before the notorious eruption in 1902. Minor activity
was reported in January of 1792, and a small eruption occurred lasting
from August to October in 1851. There was no further activity reported
until 1889 when there was an increase in gaseous emissions from the volcano.
In February of 1902 there were large amounts of sulphurous
gases being expelled which tarnished silver and killed local birds. In
Le Precheur small earthquakes were felt on April 22, 1902. On April 23,
steam was seen rising from the volcano, and on April 25 the first explosive
activity was noted.
May 2, was the start of the increasing volcanic activity
that led up to the fatal eruption on May 8.