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Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — 16 February-22 February 2005


Piton de la Fournaise

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
16 February-22 February 2005
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 February-22 February 2005. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (16 February-22 February 2005)

Piton de la Fournaise

France

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A new period of heightened seismic activity began at Piton de la Fournaise on 17 February around 1300, consisting of about 100 seismic events within 90 minutes. After that, the number of events decreased, but recommenced at 1638 with several hundreds of events. Strong deformation was recorded at the same time by tiltmeters and the extensometer network. Eruption tremor began around 2035, becoming strong at 2050. The eruption site seemed to be situated close to Nez Coupé de Sainte Rose (on the N side of the volcano), and lava flows were observed in the Grand Brûlé area. According to a news report, the eruption ended on 19 February.

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: European Volcanological Society (SVE), Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF)