National Geographic : 1902 Jul
VOLCANIC DISTURBAN Lack of Incandescence.-There is no testimony that the destructive cloud or its lapilli were incandescent. All par ties who witnessed the cloud from the front (advance) testify that they saw no flame or incandescence in it. There is positive evidence that the cloud, in one place at least, was not incandescent. Engineer Evans, of the Roraima, who looked up through a skylight as out of a well, says he saw no fire or light in the dense cloud above him. His point of view was the outer side of the de structive circle. Photo by Robert T. Hill A Flash of Lightning in Clouds Erupted from Pelee Flame.-There is much evidence that flame developed in the cloud after its eruption. All persons who witnessed the cloud from the rear or land side testify to seeing great sheets of flame or fire develop within the cloud, sug gestive of sudden ignition. Priest Des Prez, of Precheur, saw red fire in the air following after other phenomena observed by him. "Inthecitybe hind the smoke came a sheet of flame," said Mr Le Clerc. Victor, a native, CES IN WEST INDIES 253 whom I met at Deux Choux, six miles from St Pierre, and who saw the erup tion from a neighboring estate, stated that at the time of the explosion for a moment he saw the heavens clouded with flame; five minutes afterward total darkness. Professor Arnoux says that after the cloud had settled over the city there was a flash of flame and he put his hand over his face to shut out the awful sight. Father Alte Roche states that after having seen the summit cloud roll out, after having run from it 200 yards, and after having fallen down, as he got up he saw a blinding flash over the city. He said: "As I looked there was a blind ing flash of fire, and in a moment the whole beautiful city was in flames. The flame seemed to travel like light ning over the city from north to south; but it was not lightning. It looked as if the black cloud from the mountain had been ignited as soon as it reached the city." Mile. Lavenaire, 71 miles northeast of St Pierre and out of sight of town, saw a flash of flame within two minutes after the summit cloud had erupted. Many testify that while the cloud was not visibly afire at the time of its eruption it inflamed objects in its path over the city. Evans said that wher ever the cloud touched the houses in town they took fire. As the houses were of stone, with tin or tile roofing, containing but little combustible mate rial, the temperature must have been intense to cause such sudden inflamma tion. Ligkhtning.-Tremendous displays of bolts and flashes were seen at St Vin cent and Pelee within the clouds ejected from the volcano during eruptions. The evidence of lightning around the erupted summit clouds after they had left the crater is indisputably testified by many witnesses. I have personally witnessed the phenomena in subsequent eruptions.