Morne Trois Pitons

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 15.37°N
  • 61.33°W

  • 1387 m
    4549 ft

  • 360100
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

Most Recent Bulletin Report: August 1976 (NSEB 01:11) Cite this Report

Seismicity returns to normal levels

The increased seismic activity that began 10 February gradually declined and had returned to normal by late May.

Information Contacts: W. Aspinall, UWI.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Morne Trois Pitons.

Bulletin Reports - Index

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

04/1976 (NSEB 01:07) Seismic swarm during February-March

05/1976 (NSEB 01:08) Seismicity continues in May

08/1976 (NSEB 01:11) Seismicity returns to normal levels

Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

April 1976 (NSEB 01:07) Cite this Report

Seismic swarm during February-March

On 10 February a local earthquake swarm began on the island of Dominica. Only 12 events were recorded during the next month, but they increased sharply following a regional earthquake (M 5.9) 170 km to the N on 10 March. The largest event of this swarm was 14 March at 2115, but was not recorded on the WWSSN despite a locally estimated intensity of MM VI. On 30 March a 5-station seismograph net was established by a team from the Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies, Trinidad. They have since located over 40 earthquakes with focal depths of generally <3 km. Activity was generally concentrated in a belt extending beneath Roseau, capital of the island, and up to 2 km offshore to the SW.

. . . There has been neither increased steam venting at the nearby Watten Waven Soufrière (inspected on 11 April by John Tomblin, Director of the Seismic Research Unit) nor additional indications of volcanic activity reported elsewhere on the island. Furthermore, earthquake frequency was decreasing toward the end of April and focal depths appeared to be increasing. Similar earthquake swarms in Dominica have been recorded in 1974 and 1971, but they were felt less in the capital city and were therefore less conspicuous. Apart from a minor phreatic explosion in 1880, there has been no historic volcanism on Dominica. Tomblin interprets the recent earthquake as subsurface migration of magma, but feels that the risk of an eruption in the near future is decreasing. The Seismic Research Unit team is continuing to keep a close watch on geophysical activity in Dominica.

Information Contacts: J. Tomblin, UWI; W. Person, NEIS.

May 1976 (NSEB 01:08) Cite this Report

Seismicity continues in May

The trend of decreasing earthquake frequency reported last month did not continue into early May nor did the apparent trend toward increasing focal depths. Seismographs recorded 1-3 events per day in early May with depths of 1.2-2.2 km. Scientists from the University of West Indies' Seismic Research Unit have continued monitoring the activity with a telemetered network.

Information Contacts: Seismic Research Unit, UWI.

August 1976 (NSEB 01:11) Cite this Report

Seismicity returns to normal levels

The increased seismic activity that began 10 February gradually declined and had returned to normal by late May.

Information Contacts: W. Aspinall, UWI.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



920 CE

1387 m / 4549 ft


Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

Two large lava-domes complexes, Morne Trois Pitons and Micotrin, rise NE of the capital city of Roseau in central Dominica. Micotrin (Morne Macaque) dome lies immediately south of the larger 1387-m-high Morne Trois Pitons; small lakes are located in the saddle between the two domes and on the eastern flank of Micotrin. The domes are located along the margin of a large semi-circular depression on the western coast of central Dominica, whose origin has been variously attributed to caldera collapse, gravity sliding, or the juxtaposition of several independent volcanic centers. The area is the source of the voluminous, mostly submarine Roseau Tuff, a thick sequence of pyroclastic flows erupted between about 40,000 and 25,000 years ago. It is considered to have originated from calderas at Morne Trois Piton and Wotten Waven, the latter an elliptical NE-SW-trending caldera containing Microtin at its NE end. Explosive eruptions at the Trois Piton-Microtin complex producing pyroclastic flows continued into the late Pleistocene and Holocene. The youngest dated eruption took place about 800 CE, but other smaller eruptions may have occurred since.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Lindsay J M, Smith A L, Roobol M J, Stasiuk M V, 2005b. Dominica. In: Lindsay J M, Robertson R E A, Shepherd J B, Ali S (eds). {Volcanic Hazard Atlas of the Lesser Antilles}, Trinidad and Tobago, Seismic Res Unit, Univ West Indies, p 1-47.

Lindsay J M, Trumbull R B, Siebel W, 2005c. Geochemistry and petrogenesis of late Pleistocene to Recent volcanism in southern Dominica, Lesser Antilles. J Volc Geotherm Res, 148: 253-294.

Newhall C G, Dzurisin D, 1988. Historical unrest at large calderas of the world. U S Geol Surv Bull, 1855: 1108 p, 2 vol.

Robson G R, Tomblin J, 1966. West Indies. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 20: 1-56.

Roobol M J, Wright J V, Smith A L, 1983. Calderas of gravity-slide structures in the Lesser Antilles Island Arc?. J Volc Geotherm Res, 19: 121-134.

Seismic Research Unit, 2001. Seismo-volcanic activity in Dominica (updated July 11, 2001). Seismic Res Unit, Univ West Indies (

Shepherd J B, 2001. Volcanoes of the eastern Caribbean: past activity and future hazards. Paper presented at the Workshop on Volcanic and Seismic Hazards in the eastern Caribbean, May 28- June 1, 2001, 57 p.

Shepherd J B, 1989. Eruptions, eruption precursors and related phenomena in the Lesser Antilles. In: Latter J H (ed), {Volcanic Hazards - Assessment and Monitoring}, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, p 292-311.

Sigurdsson H, 1972. Partly-welded pyroclast flow deposits in Dominica, Lesser Antilles. Bull Volc, 36: 148-163.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0920 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Micotrin?
0790 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Micotrin?

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Wotten Waven Pleistocene caldera 15° 19' 0" N 61° 20' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
    Macaque, Morne
Dome 1220 m 15° 20' 0" N 61° 20' 0" W

Photo Gallery

Two large lava domes, Micotrin (lower right) and Morne Trois Pitons (upper right), are located along the margin of a large semi-circular depression on the western coast of central Dominica NE of the capital city of Roseau. The village of Laudat at the lower left lies along a road traversing the flanks of Micotrin on the way to the Atlantic coast. The most recent dated dome-forming eruption at the Trois Pitons/Micotrin complex took place about 800 AD. Morne Diablotins volcano lies in the clouds at the upper left.

Photo by Paul Jackson, 1998 (Seismic Research Unit, University of West Indies).
A roadcut in the Roseau River valley on the outskirts of the capital city reveals deposits of the Roseau Tuff. This thick sequence of pyroclastic flows (sometimes welded), pyroclastic surges, and pumice-lapilli airfall deposits was erupted between about 40,000 and 25,000 years ago.

Photo by Paul Kimberly, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
Trafalgar Falls is a popular destination within the Wotten Waven caldera east of Roseau. Warm springs are present near the falls, and in 1995 a landslide buried pools and hot springs at the base of the "father falls." Trafalgar and other nearby waterfalls are popular eco-tourism destinations. More vigorous geothermal activity is located nearby near the village of Wotten Waven, along the River Blanc, a tributary of the Roseau River.

Photo by Paul Kimberly, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
Freshwater Lake (L'Etang) lies in the moat between Micotrin lava dome and the eastern wall of the Wotten Waven caldera, partially visible in the background. The 7 x 4.5 x wide caldera is elongated in an SW-NE direction, and it extends on the SW to near the capital city of Roseau. The two coalesced lava domes of Micotrin straddle the NE rim of the caldera. Strong geothermal activity persists in the caldera, the most prominent of which lies near the village of Wotten Waven along the River Blanc and contains numerous bubbling pools and fumaroles.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Morne Trois Pitons in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Morne Trois Pitons Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.