Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — February 1988
Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 2 (February 1988)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.
Piton de la Fournaise (France) Lava production, tremor, and deformation
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1988. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 13:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198802-233020.
Piton de la Fournaise
21.244°S, 55.708°E; summit elev. 2632 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The fissure eruption continued through early March, but the rate of lava production was very low. From 7 to 15 February, sizeable lava fountains were erupted, then lava flows were observed, accompanied by limited deflation of the S flank of the central cone. Since 15 February, strong variations in tremor have been well-correlated with fluctuations in the south-lateral tilt stations (Bory), as during the 30 November-1 January eruption. No simultaneous discrete seismic events were recorded. As of 14 March, tremor continued to be recorded at a very low level. No eruptive activity was visible other than a sulfur-rich plume from the new 20-m-high cone.
Geologic Background. The massive Piton de la Fournaise basaltic shield volcano on the French island of Réunion in the western Indian Ocean is one of the world's most active volcanoes. 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 calderas formed at about 250,000, 65,000, and less than 5000 years ago by progressive eastward slumping of the volcano. Numerous pyroclastic cones dot the floor of the calderas and their outer flanks. Most historical eruptions have originated from the summit and flanks of Dolomieu, a 400-m-high lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km wide and breached to below sea level on the eastern 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 on the outer flanks of the caldera. The Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory, one of several operated by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, monitors this very active volcano.
Information Contacts: H. Delorme, D. Vandamme, and P. Nerbusson, OVPDLF; P. Bachelery, Univ de la Réunion; J. Dubois, J-L. Cheminee, A. Hirn, P. Blum, and J. Zlotnicki, IPGP.