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Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — 7 January-13 January 2004


Piton de la Fournaise

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
7 January-13 January 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 January-13 January 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (7 January-13 January 2004)

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


On 7 January at 0930 a seismic event started beneath Piton de la Fournaise and significant surface deformation was recorded. This event was different from past seismic events because it lasted for ~40 hours, while the hypocenters migrated to the NE. On 9 January eruption tremor started near Nez Coupé de Sainte Rose. A 300-m-long fissure, cutting the 1931 crater, produced a small ~2-km-long lava flow. The eruption stopped on 10 January around 1200.

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.

Sources: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF), Agence France-Presse (AFP)