Puy de Dôme
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2009)|
|Puy de Dôme|
|Elevation||1,464 m (4,803 ft)|
|Location||Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne, France|
|Range||Chaîne des Puys region of Massif Central|
|Age of rock||<10,000 years|
|Last eruption||ca. 5760 BC|
Puy de Dôme (French pronunciation: [pɥi də dom]; Occitan: Puèi Domat, Puèi de Doma) is a large lava dome and one of the youngest volcanoes in the Chaîne des Puys region of Massif Central in south-central France. This chain of volcanoes including numerous cinder cones, lava domes, and maars is far from the edge of any tectonic plate. Puy de Dôme is approximately 10 kilometres (6 mi) from Clermont-Ferrand. The Puy-de-Dôme département (with hyphens) is named after the volcano.
In pre-Christian Europe, Puy de Dôme served as an assembly place for spiritual ceremonies. Temples were built at the summit, including a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to the God Mercury, the ruins of which were discovered in 1873.
In 1648, Florin Périer, at the urging of Blaise Pascal, proved Evangelista Torricelli's theory that barometric observations were caused by the weight of air by measuring the height of a column of mercury at three elevations on Puy de Dôme.
In 1875, a physics laboratory was built at the summit. Since 1956, a TDF (Télédiffusion de France) antenna is also located there.
On the top of the mountain, there is a transmitter for FM and TV.
In more recent times, Puy de Dôme has served as an occasional stage finish in the Tour de France. It was here in 1964 that Raymond Poulidor battled with Jacques Anquetil in one of the race's most famous moments, racing side by side up almost the entire climb. Also on this peak in 1975 Eddy Merckx was punched in the kidney by a spectator. According to Jean-François Pescheux, since the construction of a rack railway, and because of the very narrow road, the Tour will never come back to the Puy de Dôme, its last ascension in the race being in 1988.
The road is only open for cyclists during very limited periods (when other vehicles are prohibited). In 2006 this was 7–9am on Wednesdays and Sundays between 1 May and 30 September.
The Puy de Dôme is one of the most visited sites in the Auvergne region, attracting nearly 500,000 visitors a year. It is a well-known centre for paragliding. The summit offers expansive views of the Chaîne des Puys and Clermont-Ferrand. A restaurant and shops are available, as well as a visitor centre giving information on the history and geology of the area.
A pedestrian path (Le sentier des muletiers), formerly a Roman road, leads to the Temple of Mercury. The motor road previously leading to the summit is now closed. Visitors must hike up on foot or take the Panoramique des Dômes, a rack railway operational since May 2012.
Hikers can also reach the Puy using a footpath on the northern side, which runs past the Nid de la Poule crater. The GR 4 long-distance trail uses this footpath and the sentier des muletiers to traverse the mountain.
- Scarth, Alwyn; Tanguy, Jean-Claude (2001). Volcanoes of Europe. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-521754-3.
- Global Volcanism Program: Chaîne des Puys
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Puy de Dôme.|