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Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — November 1976

Piton de la Fournaise

Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 1, no. 14 (November 1976)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Lava flow during 2-3 November from fissure N of Dolomieu Crater

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1976. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) (Squires, D., ed.). Natural Science Event Bulletin, 1:14. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.NSEB197611-233020

Piton de la Fournaise


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An effusive eruption began at 1300 on 2 November from a 300-m-long fissure N of Dolomieu Crater. The eruption ended at 0400 the next day after producing a lava flow 1 km long. No casualties or damage were reported. Piton de la Fournaise had been dormant since the end of five months of activity on 6 April 1976 [Bulletin of Volcanic Eruptions (BVE), no. 16].

Geological Summary. Piton de la Fournaise is a massive basaltic shield volcano on the French island of RĂ©union in the western Indian Ocean. 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 scarps formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5,000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping, leaving caldera-sized embayments open to the E and SE. Numerous pyroclastic cones are present on the floor of the scarps and their outer flanks. Most recorded eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest scarp, which is about 9 km wide and about 13 km from the western wall to the ocean on the E 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 outside the scarps.

Information Contacts: M. Krafft, Ensisheim.