Pelée (pəlāˈ) [key], volcano, 4,429 ft (1,350 m) high, on N Martinique, in the West Indies. On May 8, 1902, the day after the eruption of Soufrière on St. Vincent, Pelée also erupted, engulfing Saint-Pierre at its base in a pyroclastic flow and killing c.40,000 people in the city and adjacent area. Because the chemical composition of the volcanic ash prevents plant life, the thick layer deposited over a wide expanse is almost complete wasteland. Pelée also erupted in 1792 and 1851.
See G. Thomas and M. M. Witts, The Day the World Ended (1984); E. Zebrowski, Jr., The Last Days of St. Pierre (2002).