Third lava eruption of the year at Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion

Third lava eruption of the year at Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion

Piton de la Fournaise volcano, Reunion started its third lava eruption of the year at 05:30 UTC on July 31, 2015. Officials warned about the imminent eruption on July 30, and evacuated the immediate area.

The eruptive fissure vent is located NE from Piton Kapor and extending towards Nez Coupé de Ste Rose. It feeds a curtain of lava fountains with associated lava flows. 

Tourists are not allowed beyond the safety barrier and helicopters have been banned from flying overhead.

The previous eruptions of this volcano took place in February and May 2015.

Geological summary

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. (GVP)

Featured image: Piton de la Fournaise eruption on July 31, 2015. Image credit: IPR.

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