Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — 27 October-2 November 2010
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 October-2 November 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 October-2 November 2010. 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)
OVPDLF reported that an eruption from Piton de la Fournaise that began on 14 October from a fissure near the Château Fort crater, about 1.5 km SE of the Dolomieu crater rim, continued during 27-30 October. On 27 October steam plumes rose from the main vent (Cone 3) and lava flows were active. A sudden increase in tremor intensity was detected. The next day material was ejected from Cone 3, along with gas and steam. A small lava lake was observed in the cone, and lava flows continued to be active on the field. Tremor slightly decreased, and then significantly decreased on 29-30 October. No further tremor was recorded on 31 October and OVPDLF stated that the eruption had stopped.
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.