New eruption starts at Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion

New eruption starts at Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion

A new effusive eruption started at Piton de La Fournaise volcano in Reunion at 06:40 UTC on April 3, 2018. The Alert Level was raised to 2-2 and the Aviation Color Code to Orange.

In its latest bulletin issued April 1, 2018, OVPF said that seismicity at the volcano showed an increase during the last fortnight of February. Subsequently, volcano-tectonic activity was observed under the volcano, with an average of 4 earthquakes per day, and two peaks of activity on March 28 and 31, while the inflation of the volcanic edifice continued throughout March.

The Piton de la Fournaise observatory said their records show an increase in the number of earthquakes and persistent deformations at the top of the volcano starting at 01:50 UTC (05:50 local time) today.

Under these conditions, the Reunion prefect declared Alert 1 "eruption probable or imminent," restricting public access to the upper part of the volcano. In addition, the Journal de l’Ile indicates that the evacuation of the Enclos is in progress.

The volcano started erupting at 06:40 UTC today, on the north flank near the Nez Coupé de Sainte-Rose. The Alert Level was raised to 2-2 and the Aviation Color Code to Orange.

The eruption is still not clearly visible on available webcams.


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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: New eruption starts at Piton de la Fournaise on April 3, 2018. Credit: JCB TV & Aviation Videos

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