The Volcano Adventure Guide: Excellent information and background for anyone wishing to visit active volcanoes safely and enjoyably. The book presents guidelines to visiting 42 different volcanoes around the world.
Piton de la Fournaise, a typical basaltic shield volcano, located on the French island La Réunion, is one of the world's most active and productive volcanoes. It is in a phase of frequent but short-lived eruptions that start with lava fountains and produce large lava flows. Since the active areas of the volcano are not inhabited, its eruptions pose little danger and cause little damage.
View of the eruption site at Piton de la Fournaise this afternoon
The eruption continues with little changes over the past weeks and remains dominantly effusive: lava continues to erupt from the 14 July fissure feeding a growing lava field. ...more
After a quieter period, occasional spattering and strombolian explosions have been again visible from the main vent where a new cinder cone has been built. Following a period of gradual decrease in intensity, the observatory measured increasing tremor since 10 Aug, with strong fluctuations in the past days. This observation could suggest increasing instability of the feeding system, with more irregular supply rates and occasional bursts, that also explain the newly observed explosive activity at the cone.
Tremor intensity during the past weeks with strong fluctuatations recently (image: OVPF / IPGP)
The main vent of Piton de la Fournaise's eruption on 30 July 2017 - 09h05 (local time) (image: OVPF / IPGP)
The eruption which had begun on 14 July, celebrating France's National Day, continues with little changes during the past week. ...more
The intensity of volcanic tremor (corresponding to lava output) remains stable at approx. 50% the values at the early stages of the eruption. The volcano observatory estimates an effusion rate of at least 1-2 cubic meters of lava per second. At the vent, the originally 7 fountains had quickly concentrated onto a single main vent, where a new cinder cone is growing now. After shifting from lava fountaining to strombolian bursts in the early days, it is now completely closed and only produces intermittent small strombolian-type ejections from the main vent, and rarely, from a secondary vent at its northern edge.
Tremor intensity during the past days (image: OVPF / IPGP)
Map of the location of the eruption site (image: OVPF / IPGP)
Piton de la Fournaise's new eruption this morning (image: OVPF webcam)
The volcano began erupting early this morning, making it the third eruption this year (after the ones in January and May). ...more
Following an increase of earthquakes over the past days, an intense seismic crisis started 22:20 local time last night - sign of the magma moving towards the surface. The eruption itself, when the magma reached the surface, began at around 00:50 this morning from a new fissure on the SSW slope of Dolomieu crater near the Chateau Fort cinder cone. A curtain of lava fountains from the eruptive fissure was active this morning, feeding a lava flow that rapidly traveled several hundred meters downslope. [less]
Distance variations at Piton de la Fournaise volcano showing inflation (Image: OVPF / IPGP)
The unrest at the volcano continues - a new eruption could occur with little warning. ...more
Since the appearance of the "dry" ground fractures on the northern flank of Dolomieu crater during the magma intrusion event on 17 May, the edifice has first deflated a bit, but then continued to inflate since a few days ago again. In addition, two new fumarole areas on the northern flank have formed, as a result of fresh magma near the surface. On the other hand, seismic activity has decreased (from around 40 earthquakes on 18 May to 2-3 per day during the past days). Magma-derived CO2 emissions have been at elevated but stable values during the past days.
Map showing the location of the new fumaroles as a result of the magma injection event on 17 May, as well as horizontal (arrows) and vertical (circles) ground displacement vectors with values of up to 35 cm. (Image: OVPF / IPGP)
Earthquakes under Piton de la Fournaise during 04:00 and 17:30 on 18 May 2017 (OVPF)
A helicopter overfly yesterday evening confirmed that the reported short-lived eruption did actually not take place: no fresh lava could be seen at the supposed site of the eruption. ...more
The eruption tremor detected by the observatory was likely only caused by degassing while the rising magma eventually did not reach the surface, but stopped at shallow depth. Scientists described dry "fractures on the surface". However, it might only be a matter of a short time until the magma continues to rise and actually does produce an eruption. Shallow earthquakes under the area continue. The Volcano Observatory (OVPF) noted 32 superficial volcanic-tectonic earthquakes at or near 2 kilometers depth during the first 12 hours of 18 May. The quakes were mainly located under the northeastern sector of the Fouqué enclosure (Enclos) and more precisely under the Piton Crac. [less]
Tremor amplitude associated with Piton de la Fournaise's new eruption (image: OVPF)
A new eruption (the second in 2017) began at the volcano yesterday afternoon with little precursory signs. The site of the new eruption is a fissure on the NE flank of the Dolomieu central crater inside the Enclos. ...more
At 13:40 local time, the observatory recorded the start of a seismic swarm and rapid ground deformation, indicative of magma moving towards the surface. The eruption began at 20:10 with the onset of eruption tremor. Bad weather prevented direct observation. The tremor signal stopped already 5 hours later, at 01:00 this morning, suggesting that the eruption stopped or paused. Seismic activity related to deeper magma movements continued to be recorded, however.
Site of the eruption inferred from ground deformation patterns (OVPF)
The new cone built during Piton de la Fournaise's latest eruption seen on 27 Feb 2017 (image: OVPF)
The first eruption of the volcano in 2017 ended last Monday. After having been stable for several weeks, tremor started to drop and both lava emission ceased quickly in the morning of 27 Feb at 10:00 local time. ...more
The eruption was declared over when also pulsating gas emissions stopped a few hours later. However, volcanologists do not exclude the possibility that a new eruption could start soon again, because inflation of the volcanic edifice continues to be detected along with elevated diffuse CO2 emissions. Both parameters suggest that magma supply continues from a deep source and could lead to new eruptions within short time (days to few weeks). A similar scenario occurred during the eruption in Aug-Oct 2015 when activity ceased and restarted two times.
Sudden drop of tremor along with the end of the eruption (image: OVPF)
Aerial view of the new cinder cone around the vent at Piton de la Fournaise volcano on 10 Feb 2017 (image: OVPF)
The eruption continues with little variation. According to the volcano observatory, tremor levels and lava output have remained high and at steady levels since 10 February. ...more
At the vent, a new sizeable cinder cone is being formed by the initial lava fountaining and now strombolian-type explosive activity, while the lava flow field continues to expand into southeasterly direction towards the slope in break of the Grandes Pentes. For most of its path, the lava is now flowing inside newly formed lava tubes, fact which allows the lava to remain hot and fluid and cover longer distances.
Volcanic tremor at Piton de la Fournaise during the past days as of yesterday evening (image: OVPF)
The eruption which had begun on 31 Jan still continues and shows no signs of weakening. On the contrary, the measured intensity of volcanic tremor (indicator of surface eruptive intensity) has been rising overall and is a high levels, the volcano observatory reported. ...more
No earthquakes occurred yesterday under Piton de la Fournaise volcano, suggesting that magma flow from depth is unobstructed. The observatory also confirms that the volcanic edifice still undergoes inflation, suggesting that magma supply from depth continues (which likely means that the eruption is far from over). [less]
Aerial view of the principal vent at Piton de la Fournaise (image: OVPF)
The eruption continues with little variation. An aerial survey helped map the new fissure eruption and its lava flows. The vent is located about 750 m south of Château Fort and about 2.3 km to the north-east of Piton de Bert. ...more
The lava effusion rate this time seems to be relatively low as the flows progress only slowly, and has been estimated to be between 3-8 cubic meters / second.
The new eruption of Piton de la Fournaise seen from above on 1 Feb 2017 (image: Imaz Press Reunion)
The volcano began its first eruption in 2017 on the afternoon 31 January, from an eruptive fissure on the south-south-east flank, near the 1948 Chateau-Fort spatter cone. ...more
The eruption was expected after volcanologists had detected changes in geophysical and geochemical data, as well as a marked increase in seismic activity since 27 Jan, located at shallow depth (less than 2 km) under Dolomieu crater. At the same time, the output of volcanic CO2 from the ground increased, indicating the ascent of fresh magma from depth. From 15:22 (local time) on 31 Jan, the seismic activity increased dramatically and eruption tremor began at around 19:40, which is likely corresponding to the beginning of the eruption (visibility was hindered by clouds). [less]
Copyrights:VolcanoDiscovery and other sources as noted. Use of material: Text and images on this webpage are copyrighted. Further reproduction and use without authorization is not consented. If you need licensing rights for photographs, for example for publications and commercial use, please contact us.