Logo link to homepage

Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — 13 November-19 November 2002

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 November-19 November 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 November-19 November 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (13 November-19 November 2002)


Piton de la Fournaise

France

21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


After 3 months of high seismicity at Piton de la Fournaise and three small seismic crises, a strong seismic crisis with several hundreds of earthquakes started on 15 November at 2336. The earthquakes were accompanied by large deformation at the summit of up to 300 microradians. An eruption began on the 16th at 0433 with the appearance of eruption tremor on the volcano's E flank around 1,900 m-elevation. Fissures opened on the volcano's E flank between elevations of 1,900 and 1,600 m and lava flowed down the E flank. A small cone formed on one of the most active fissures around 1,600 m elevation.

Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of RĂ©union in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. Much of its more than 530,000-year history overlapped with eruptions of the deeply dissected Piton des Neiges shield volcano to the NW. Three calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern side. More than 150 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.

Source: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF)