New eruption at Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion

New eruption at Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion

A new eruption started at Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion during the early morning hour of September 15, 2018.

The eruption followed a seismic crisis that started at 04:45 UTC (01:45 local time) today. Seismicity was accompanied by rapid deformation. Volcanic tremor appeared around 08:25 UTC and magma reached the surface, opening one or more eruptive fissures on the southern flank of the volcano near Cratère Rivals.

At least one crack of about 500 m (1 640 feet) opened just below the site of the April 27, 2018 eruption.

Public access to the Enclos Fouqué, from the Pas de Bellecombe trail or from any other trail, as well as from aircraft in the volcano area, is prohibited until further notice, Volcanological Observatory of Piton de la Fournaise said.

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 credit: OVPF

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