1. 1902 Volcanic Eruption Brings Apocalypse of Snakes
People who live on or near dormant volcanoes don’t tend to take the sleeping giant on their doorstep seriously. When the cataclysmic eruption comes, people tend to be entirely caught off guard, despite warnings in the forms of tremors, smoke plumes, and mini explosions. These eruptions tend to be so dangerous because historically, people tend to remain in their homes rather than flee to safety. That’s what happened when Mount Pelee, on the French island of Martinique, blew its gasket in 1902. The eruption was violent and caused massive damage. Out of a population of approximately 28,000 people, only two are known to have survived.
Before its eruption, Mount Pelee gave plenty of warning. Tremors and ash clouds in the days and weeks before the explosion caused a plague of pests to swarm villages and towns. The repertoire of pests included foot-long millipedes and colonies of red ants that bit people and animals incessantly. Moreover, with the pests came snakes. Hordes of poisonous snakes descended on Martinique in April 1902. At least 50 people and 200 animals died because of venomous bites. Those that survived the plague of snakes fell prey to the ensuing eruption, except for the two people that are known to have survived.
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