Friday, 13 February 2015

Eruptions on Piton de la Fournaise, Réunion Island.

On Wednesday 4 February 2014 the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise recorded 180 Earthquakes between 4.00 and 9.00 am, on Piton de la Fournaise, a shield volcano which forms much of the eastern part of Réunion Island, an island in the western Indian Ocean which forms a department of France, with five events exceeding Magnitude 2. The activity increased after 9.00 am, prompting an investigation of the mountain. At about 11.00 am observers spotted a 500 m in the central caldera, about 100 m to the west of Bory Crater, the smaller and more westerly of the two main craters within the caldera. Lava was scene erupting from this fissure, reaching a height of about 10 m, and flowing in a number of streams to the south and southwest. Earthquake activity subsided that evening, though it did not cease, continuing at a low level until a second major outburst on 10 February, followed by a return to a lower level of activity. Visits to the caldera on 8 an 9 February revealed lava was still flowing, while gas emissions were detected on 6 February. This is the first activity on the volcano since December 2010.

Lava flow on Piton de la Fournaise on 11 February 2014. ile-en-ile.

Piton de la Fournaise is believed to have been active for about 530 000 years, though its geology is complicated to unravel as lava flows are interbedded with those from Piton des Neiges, a larger, older and now extinct volcano to the northwest, which is responsible for the formation of about two thirds of the island. The island sits on the Réunion Hotspot, a deep mantle plume which is thought to have been active for about 66 million years, originally forming under what is now northeastern India, where it was responsible for the Deccan Traps flood basalts, then moving southward across the Indian Ocean (or more precisely sitting still while the continental plate upon which India and the Indian Ocean sit moves to the north), over time forming the Laccadive Islands, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Rodrigues Island, Mauritius and Réunion.

See also...

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