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Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — January 2000

Piton de la Fournaise

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 25, no. 1 (January 2000)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Piton de la Fournaise (France) A new eruption in February 2000 begins venting lava flows

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 25:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200001-233020

Piton de la Fournaise


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

A new eruption occurred at Piton de la Fournaise in February 2000. The previous eruption, in September and October 1999 (BGVN 24:09), included a ~50-m-high lava fountain rising from the SW corner of Dolomieu crater and a main lava flow covering ~300,000 m2 on the S flank in a deposit with a volume of <1 x 106 m3.

Following a significant increase of seismicity during January 2000, a seismic crisis started at 2335 on 13 February and the eruption began at 0018 on 14 February. At least five vents opened "en echelon" on the N flank. These vents formed two N-flowing lava fields. One, consisting of aa lavas, formed on the E side of crater "Puy Mi-Cote", and the second issued from a large fissure above "Piton Kapor" (BGVN 23:03). Both flows joined close to the border of the caldera and followed the slope eastward to "La Plaine des Osmondes." At about1100 on 14 February, lava fountains on the main fissure were 5 m high. Further observations were hampered by very heavy rainfall and winds from a tropical storm centered 250 km N of Réunion Island.

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: Thomas Staudacher, Nicolas Villeneuve, and Jean Louis Cheminée, Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers, 14 RN3 - Km 27, 97418 La Plaine des Cafres, Réunion, France (URL: http://www.ipgp.fr/fr/ovpf/observatoire-volcanologique-piton-de-fournaise).