Logo link to homepage

Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — 28 May-3 June 2003

Piton de la Fournaise

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
28 May-3 June 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 May-3 June 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (28 May-3 June 2003)

Piton de la Fournaise


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An eruption began at Piton de la Fournaise on 30 May around 1155 at Dolomieu crater in the area where the December 2002 collapse occurred. The eruption was preceded by a slight increase in seismicity on 28 May, which included a small seismic swarm. Another swarm took place on the morning of 30 May, and at 1155 tremor began beneath Dolomieu crater. Then the eruption began, producing a lava flow that reached a length of ~400 m and a width of 250 m in the western part of Dolomieu crater. In addition, lava fountaining was observed until ~1400, after which most surface activity ceased. By 1 June at 1000 no tremor was recorded, marking the end of the eruption.

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.

Source: Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF)