Fort-de-France (AFP)

Montagne Pelée, an active volcano in northern Martinique, is placed on yellow vigilance under the Orsec plan, due to signs of reactivation, the Martinique authorities announced on Friday.

"Mount Pelée is a living, active volcano, and taking into account the observations that are made, we are going to strengthen surveillance, this is the meaning of this yellow vigilance. It is not an alert for the population, it is an alert for scientists ", announced Stanislas Cazelles, the prefect of Martinique, during a press conference.

"We noted an increase in earthquakes at the level of the volcanic edifice," said the director of the Martinique Volcanological and Seismological Observatory (OVSM) Fabrice Fontaine.

Some 50 earthquakes occurred in September, and 78 in November, against less than 10 earthquakes per month until 2019, he said.

The OVSM was also alarmed at a reactivation of the volcano's hydrothermal system.

"We detected a reactivation of Mount Pelée but on the other hand we have no precursor sign of an eruption. But it could occur on the scale of a few years or perhaps less", specified the director of the 'Institut physique du globe de Paris Marc Chaussidon.

The last eruption of Mount Pelée took place in 1902, destroying the town of Saint-Pierre and killing nearly 30,000.

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