DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration depicting the eruption of Mont Pelee, Martinique, on 8 May 1902. At 7.50am local time, an enormous black cloud was emitted by the volcano and rolled down its slopes toward the capital, St.Pierre. This was a nuee ardente, a cloud of hot gas, ash and rocks that moves like a fluid at incredible speeds. Despite an earlier fatal eruption, which destroyed a factory about a mile from the town three days before, St.Pierre was not evacuated before being engulfed. Over 28,000 people died in the eruption, the sole survivor being a prisoner in his cell. Three explosive eruptions have since been recorded, the last in 1932.
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