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Evolution of Volcanism in the Central Antilles Arc from the Miocene to the Present Day


December 2nd to 10th 2021 (to be confirmed)

Responsable de l'activité

Thomas Sheldrake


Dr. Thomas SHELDRAKE, Maître-assistant, UNIGE

Jonathan LEMUS, PhD student, UNIGE

Allan FRIES, PhD student, UNIGE


Dr. Aurélie GERMA, University of Florida, USA

Dr. Yannis LABEAU, University of the Antilles, Martinique


Dr. Anne-Marie LEJEUNE, Observatoire Volcanologique et Sismologique de la Martinique


Martinique and Dominica are two islands located in the Central Antilles. They are excellent locations to introduce students to the wide variety of eruptive activity that has occurred in the Lesser Antilles, both spatially and temporarily. Using the temporal sequence of eruptive activity in the region as a framework for the field trip (see provisional itinerary below), we will visit deposits from underwater effusive eruptions; strombolian, vulcanian, and Plinian explosive eruptions; effusive lava- dome building eruptions; and sector collapses of volcanic edifices. For each of these deposits we will study their physical, chemical and petrological characteristics and discuss the influence of mantle and crustal processes on their genesis. The Central Lesser Antilles is still volcanologically active, and so we will visit the active hydrothermal systems present on Dominica and discuss the implications for volcano monitoring. Mt. Pelée (location of the deadliest volcanic eruption in the 20th century) on the island of Martinique will provide an opportunity to discuss dome- building volcanism, pyroclastic flows, lahars and the unique aspects of managing the hazard and risk associated with dome-building volcanic eruptions, which can last for multiple years. Both Allan Fries and Jonathan Lemus originate from Martinique. This trip would make use of their excellent geological and volcanological knowledge of the Central Antilles whilst they still remain in Switzerland before finishing their PhD's at the end of 2021. Dr. Sheldrake has studied the dome-building volcanism that is the characteristic eruptive activity in the Lesser Antilles. He has also worked on the islands of Montserrat and St. Kitts. Consequently, we have a large geochemical and petrological dataset of eruptive activity covering the Lesser Antilles. We will discuss this with the students so that we can compare regional-scale variations in eruptive activity with the geological deposits that we will discover on the islands of Martinique and Dominica. Provisional itinerary: Stage one: Miocene volcanism and origins of Lesser Antilles magmas in the south and east of Martinique.

Day 1: Day - Land in Fort de France (Martinique). Pick up rental cars (3 days). Evening - Check into accommodation for 3 nights (Sainte-Luce / Rivière-Salée / Les Trois-Îlets).

Day 2: South and East Martinique: The origins of the modern arc and underwater eruptions.

Day 3: South and West Martinique: Mafic volcanism, olivine rich Strombolian eruptions, garnet-rich pumice from Plinian eruptions and quartz-rich basalts. Stage two: Quaternary large-ignimbrite volcanism on Dominica and modern-day hydrothermal activity.

Day 4: Morning - Ferry to Dominica. Pick up rental cars (4 days). Afternoon – Roseau ignimbrites. Visit the Dominica Museum (Cultural, social, geological and archaeological history) Evening - Check into accommodation for 4 nights (Roseau).

Day 5: Southern Dominica: Lava domes / Ignimbrites / Volcanic sector collapses / Underwater hydrothermal activity

Day 6: Western and northern coastline of Dominica: Ignimbrite deposits with lahars / Primary ash fall deposits (deposition onto land and into water).

Day 7: Central Dominica: Morne-Trois Pitons – Modern hydrothermal activity. Stage three: Holocene Volcanism in the north of Martinique – Implications for hazard and risk

Day 8: Morning - Ferry to Martinique. Pick up rental cars (4 days). Afternoon - Pitons du Carbet and Morne Jacob Evening - Check into accommodation for 4 nights (Le Carbet / Saint-Pierre / Le Morne-Rouge).

Day 9: Tour / visit to the volcanic and seismic observatory of Martinque

Day 10: Mont Pelée Holocene volcanism - Major flank collapse and Plinian eruptions

Day 11: Mont Pelée 1902 eruption - Visit of St. Pierre and Musée Frank Perret. 1902 eruption, volcanic hazard in the Lesser Antilles.

Day 12: Return flight to Geneva


Martinique and Dominica (Lesser Antilles)



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