Logo link to homepage

Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — November 1975

Piton de la Fournaise

Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 1, no. 2 (November 1975)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Piton de la Fournaise (France) Eruption begins on 4 November after 31-month repose

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1975. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) (Squires, D., ed.). Natural Science Event Bulletin, 1:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.NSEB197511-233020

Piton de la Fournaise


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

After a 31-month repose, the volcano began erupting on 4 November at the S end of Brulant Crater, 2,300 m above sea level. A 400-m-long fissure opened, trending NW-SE, and five cinder cones formed along its length. On 5 November one cone, 50 m high, was still active at the SE end of the fissure. A 10-m-wide lava lake formed. During the following 10 days 180,000 m3 of aphyric basalt aa was emitted. By 14 November the eruption was decreasing, the crater was degassing, and the lava flows were reported as small.

Further Reference. Krafft, M., and Gerente, A., 1977, L'Activite du Piton de la Fournaise entre Novembre 1975 et Avril 1976 (Ile de la Réunion, Ocean Indien): C.R. Acad. Sci. Paris, serie D, v. 284, p. 2091-2094.

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: L. Montaggioni, Univ. de la Réunion.