The Pitons of Saint Lucia

April 23, 2024


RICK3359A (1)

Photographer: Rick Stankiewicz  
Summary Author: Rick Stankiewicz

The iconic landmarks of the southern Caribbean island of Saint Lucia are unquestionably the two extinct volcanic plugs called the Twin Pitons. Found on the southwestern coast of the island they dominate the skyline adjacent to the coastal city of Soufrière. The larger, southernmost peak is referred to as Gros Piton and the smaller one to the north, Petit Piton. They tower over the surrounding ocean at heights of 2,619 ft (798 m) and 2,438 ft (743 m), respectively. The first image is the view I captured looking west while approaching the Hewanorra International Airport at the south end of the island. Gros Piton is in the foreground.

The Pitons are evidence of volcanic activity from about 70-110 thousand years ago. These diapiric domes were formed by quick-flowing lava that is high in silica and composed of mainly feldspar and quartz. They're now the main features of a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was created in 2004 and covers 2,909 ha (7,188 ac).

The second image was taken while flying out of Saint Lucia. This view is looking south with Petit Piton in the foreground. The pitons are impressive from any angle and even factor into St. Lucia’s flag as the two stylized central triangles. Photos taken in January 2024. 

Photo Details: 1st photo - RICOH WG-80 camera; 77 mm; f/4.8; ISO 125; 1/250 second exposure. 2nd photo - Nikon P900 camera; 24 mm; f/7.1; ISO 400; 1/1600 second exposure.

Saint Lucia Coordinates: 13.80220118 -61.04734082

Related Links:
Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island
Lava Building Blocks