Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — 4 July-10 July 2001
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
4 July-10 July 2001
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 July-10 July 2001. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Piton de la Fournaise
21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The eruption that started on 11 June stopped on 7 July after 1 week of increased tremor. On 3 July tremor and the intensity of local earthquakes increased. The earthquakes had magnitudes less than 3 and were located under Dolomieu crater at a depth near sea level. On 6 and 7 July two aa lava flows in the Grand Brûlé area crossed the national highway. On 7 July the end of the eruption was marked by the disappearance of the tremor and a dramatic decrease in the intensity of local earthquakes.
Geological Summary. Piton de la Fournaise is a massive basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion 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.