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.