New eruption started at Piton de la Fournaise, alerts raised

New eruption started at Piton de la Fournaise, alerts raised

A new effusive eruption has started at Piton de la Fournaise volcano located on the French island of La Réunion around 15:40 UTC on January 31, 2017. The Aviation Color Code was raised to Orange.

According to the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF), seismicity under volcano started increasing at 11:22 UTC today. The volcanic tremor associated with the arrival of magma on the surface is recorded since 15:40 UTC.

The observatory said that a fissure had opened on the south-southeast flank, triggering an Alert Level 2-2 (ongoing eruption) and the restriction of access by the public to the summit area. Helicopter landings in the volcano area is also prohibited.

The last time this volcano erupted was in September 2016.

Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion on January 31, 2017

Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise on January 31, 2017. Credit: iPGP/OVPF

Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion on January 31, 2017

Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise on January 31, 2017. Credit: iPGP/OVPF

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 5 000 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 (1 312 feet) lava shield that has grown within the youngest caldera, which is 8 km (26 247 feet) 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 (IPGP), monitors this very active volcano. (GVP)

Featured image: Eruption  of Piton de la Fournaise on January 31, 2017. Credit: iPGP/OVPF

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