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La Pelée, Martinique, QTVR Panorama Page - September 2005
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After climbing in the morning fog we reach the top of the clouds at Plateau des Palmistes, close to the small tourist hut (at left) on the rim of the Caldera de l'Etang Sec (Dry Pond Caldera). The caldera is filled by the impressive domes of the 1929 (left, 1397m.a.s.l.) and 1902 (right, 1362m.a.s.l.) eruptions. A steep path reaches the top of the 1902 dome. Just on the right is the scenic top of the caldera rim, Morne Lacroix (1247m.a.s.l.).
Morne Lacroix (1247m.a.s.l.) offers the best view of the Caldera de l'Etang Sec with its spectacular andesitic domes. The 1929 dome is partly hidden by summit clouds (left, 1397m.a.s.l.) and is the highest, although the 1902 dome (right, 1362m.a.s.l.) appears higher since it is closer. On the left of the Caldera, Abri Mouttet (hut with seismometers), on the right the prehistoric caldera rim Morne Macouba (1292m.a.s.l.) and the small tourist hut.
Walking over Plateau des Palmistes we reach the north rim of the Caldera de l'Etang Sec just below Morne Macouba on the right. The 1902 dome completely fills this half of the caldera; its summits are Dent Nord (right, 1330m.a.s.l.) and Dent Est (left, 1362m.a.s.l.). The scenic top of Morne Lacroix (1247m.a.s.l.) rises above the caldera rim just left of the 1902 dome.
Before the steep descent, we stop at Monument Dufrènois (right, 1210m.a.s.l.) where Roby asks local people for help as he needs to phone the observatory. From left to right: village Saint Pierre on the coast, the 1929 dome (1397m.a.s.l.), further away the 1902 dome (1362m.a.s.l.), Morne Lacroix on the caldera rim with Morne Macouba in the background.
Saint Pierre: Les Ruines du Figuier. These shops along the harbour were left untouched after being destroyed on 8 May 1902 by the pyroclastic flow which, at 8h02 local time, buried 58 square km in and around the town. Note the charred stones on the top of the walls and the huge block moved here from the volcano's top.
Saint Pierre: The Theater. A circular wall now protects the few remaining ruins left by the catastrophe: the rectangular pit of the orchestra and, behind it, the charred walls of the scenery. In the background, at the center of the stage, the distant volcano seems to rest and wait for its next Plinian eruption in one, two or even more centuries.