Active volcanoes / Aktive vulkaner:
Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion     

Piton de la Fournaise-vulkanen is on the island of Reunion, about 200 km Southwest of
Mauritius, near the Republic of Malagasy. The volcano rises 2.631 m asl, and
it is the only active volcano on the island, but also one of the most active in the world.
Piton is a basaltic shieldvolcano. It has built up in the Piton des Neiges, an old volcano which
can be dated 22.000 years back.

Piton de la Fournaise have had at least 174 eruptions since 1640. About 600.000
people live on the island of Reunion, which covers 2.510 square kilometers (50x50km)

Friday, September 3rd, 2004

Another third flow has reached the ocean through the wood.

At 19:10 yesterday, the volcanologic network recorded a suddenly remarkable fall of
trémors. In five minutes, the electroencephalogram became almost flat, a situation which was
maintained to 23:00 h. One could thus regard the eruption as completed
Now it's just a question if Piton itself does agree....

After the appearance of a first cone on the littoral platform, at Monday evening, two others
were born at the end of the evening Wednesday. At the same time, a third arm of lavaflow
was thrown into the ocean on the Saint-Philippe side.

Now 3 new cones have shown up on the new coastline

At 01.00 yesterday night, one could see a first cone at a height of approximately three meters,
located fifty meters in the north of that of Monday evening. Then a second appeared.
Less than twenty-four hours later, yesterday at 19:15 the eruption was completed after this last theatric blow.
Translated from french - ©

Thursday, September 2nd, 2004

The new cone is omitting smoke, but not as eager as yesterday.

Notice the new cone in the center. Lavaflows from top of the volcano
still flow inti the water making a spectacular view.

Wednesday, September 1st. 2004

The new cone by the sea, Piton, Tuesday August 31st, 2004

Piton surprises again! On the platform which are now about 500m x 200m broad and from
3 to 6 m thick, there has now been established a new cone - right out where the ocean waves
came rolling in just one week ago.

Such an eruption 8 or 9 km from the top of the volcano, is completely exceptional.
There is no precedent since the island where occupied by man.

If this is true, which it looks like it now have the presence of two distinct events.
One eruption on the top of the island, and one out on the new shore. However, without the bench
built since August 25th, it is probale that the new eruption would have occurred under the sea.

On the other side, there is a slight possibility that the cone rocks in the ocean following a tidal
wave But then the eruptive episodes are particularly violent ones. Whereas the cone seems
dormant, wrapped in a vapor, it awakes brutally. Strong explosions are heard and sheaves
of lava rise high in the air. The fireworks lasts half an hour.


The spectacle moves on at the same time in the forest where the lava cut through a new path
towards the sea in the vegetation.

The episodes follow one another in a random way lasting sometimes only a few minutes,
intersected with long pauses. The immediate proximity of the ocean gives an unusual dimension
to the phenomenon. Now, what does the volcano still hold for us? One point is acquired with
certainty. It will not disappoint us.

If the eruption continues as for now, there is no immideatley danger for the people on the island,
except for those curious persons who can not get close enough to the lavaflow.
Translated from french - ©

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004
The show must go on....

Monday, August 30th, 2004
The lava-flow is only visible a few places, as most of the flow go under the old
stiffened lava. About 4 acres of new landmass to the Island have been added last few days.

Saturday, August 28th, 2004


The eruption is just getting more intensive, and the meeting with the ocean
is getting more violent.

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

Piton had a new eruption on August 13th. Since then lava has come down the hillside,
and met the ocean on the 23rd of August. It is not a violent eruption, and people are
coming through the woods or by road to watch. The main road is, of course, closed.

August 2004: It looks very much close to the December 2002-eruption. See further below.

May 15th, 2004
The eruption that began on 2 May is still continuing. Lava flow go down from the floor
of Enclos by a long tunnel (about 2,5 km) and is issuing at the surface near the Nez du
Tremblet; Yesterday at 3 PM, lava front flowing at 1150 m elevation, at about 4 km of the
National Road 2. Volcanic tremor was slight increasing, but remained at a moderate level.

May 11th, 2004

Cracks opened up a week ago, and a sulphurous odor is hanging over the mountainside.
Not a big eurption, but lava is coming up in the daylight, even though it seems more of
it go through tunnels beneath the surface. The weather has been poor last week, and
it has been difficult to get good pictures through the web-cam on our web-cam page.


The hikers who went yesterday evening to the piton of Bert to observe the spectacle of the
eruption were disappointed, because in addition to the fall of the activity noted since the morning,
the fog and the flour were part. Fortunately, there remain these photographs memories taken
yesterday morning during an overflight of the enclosure.

Monday, December 23rd, 2002
Piton of the Furnace could show up to 3 500 seismic tremors for Saturday only, (approximately 170 to 190 events per hour). The seismicity thus continues its climbing towards a collapse at the top of Dolomieu.

Friday, December 20th, 2002

As of the 20th of December, the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise has reported that since the stop of the effusive activity, December 3, a very strong seismic activity is recorded (more than 1000 seismic events per day during last days) strongly suggesting a pressurization of the system. The seismic events are near the surface and are at a few hundred meters under the Dolomieu crater. The formation of a crater of collapse becomes increasingly probable. A very strong phreatic activity can be associated there and the projection of blocks
to several km of the summit zone is not with exclure.
L' Enclos is always closed and the overflights are prohibited. The closed area of access must be extended today to all the sector of the Bellecombe.

Wednesday, December 4th, 2002

The lava has now reached the sea at two points.
Someone thought the eruption was over on the island of Reunion recently, but they were wrong. Pitons has still more to say. But extreme weather conditions have prevented normal observations
of what's going on. As a matter of fact, 430 mm of rain fell on the top of the volcano between 04:00 and 23:00 yesterday! Compared to the 700 mm of annual precipitation in Paris, France,
that gives an idea of the flood which fell down on the solid mass of the Piton de la Fournaise.


No tremors is thus recorded since yesterday in the zone of du piton Guanyin, born from the eruption which began on November 16th on the eastern side of the volcano. The seismicity
(1500 events for the day of Sunday) even clearly decreased: whereas it was not even possible
any more tocount the seisms Monday.Nevertheless, the seismic events remained on a level
much higher than the normal yesterday evening.

The possibility of a collapse which would affect the top of the volcano (Dolomieu crater) thus remains as a possibility. For this reason, the prohibition of overflight of the top in a radius of two kilometers is more than ever into force and the access to the enclosure remains prohibited.

On the whole, the main road 2, if one excludes a small enclave of ten meters, was buried
on nearly 470 meters length. It will have to last several weeks for the machines to make a provisional track.

photo:©Valerie Ruby

photo:©Valerie Ruby
To days news translated from an article at ©

November 20th, 2002


The flow were yesterday afternoon 200 m closer to the trunk-road (highway?) than the day
before, and should by now be close to 1.000 m away..

November 19th, 2002

Lava on its way down the flanks

The eruption, which began Saturday morning, and sent a flow of lava down 1 600 m ,
has arrived at 1,4 km from the national hightway, after having increased its length by 300 meters
in one day. The trémor of the eruption slightly increased between Sunday and Monday.

The big question is now when the flow will reach the highway, but at present there is nothing
more to say, except that the duration of the eruption, formation of tunnels by the lava and a
lot of other unpredictable things all will be parts of the answer to the question.

Yes, a new eruption has come to Reunion

November 18th, 2002
The eruptive trémor has slightly increased for 24 hours.According to the gendarmerie,
the Picard crater with the top of the Plain of Osmunds emitted much smoke, this point was checked quickly. Following the overflight with the helicopter of the army: continuous projections
of the cone and 1600 m downwards are visible. The flow on the level of the cone is unchanged compared to yesterday morning. The lavaflow increased by approximately 300 m since
yesterday morning and are to 1.4 km from the trunk road. No release of smoke was
observed in the Plain of Osmunds. The Picard crater is absolutely quiet.

There are not large crystals in the lava this time according to scientist visiting the area, and that differentiates it from the eruption of  last January, which was very rich in olivine.

November 17th, 2002
The eruptive trémor decreased approximately by a factor 4 since the beginning. Ash and steam were emitted in the morning around 8 hours to 400 m of altitude.
Two cracks around 1600 m altitude are active. The smallest and lowest only has a very low
flow. The largest, slightly more to north and 100 m higher, has a significant flow.

November 16th, 2002
The eruption began with the progressive appearance of a trémor about
04:33. The trémor is located on the side of volcano. No ash or fumes visible on the images
of the cameras of the observatory.

November 15th, 2002
A strong seismic crisis began towards 23h37 (standard time) and continuous. Strong
deformations observed at the top and seemed to continue towards the side of the volcano.
(Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise)

Januar 17th 2002
translation to follow - meanwhile enjoy the pictures!
Siden den 11 januar har den seismiske aktiviteten tiltatt til det dobbelte av foregående
uke, med jordskjelv omkring 4 km under Plaine des Osmondes, nær den nordre
kaldera-veggen. Om kvelden den 12.januar åpnet det seg en ny sprekk i den lavere delen
av Plaine des Osmondes. Lava fløt ut herfra ned mot Grand Brulè. Den 14 januar
fløt lavastrømmen over riksveien på sin vei mot havet, hvor det nådde fram sent
på ettermiddagen. 15. januar var skjelvene stabile, med omkring 100 skjelv registert
over en 24 timers periode på nordsiden av vulkanen. Kl. 06.00 kom så en ny
sverm av lavfrekvente skjelv nær landsbyen Bois-Blanc på øyas østkyst, nordøst for
Plaine des Osmondes.

Flyfoto av kysten der lavaen renner ut i havet.

Det kan være nødvendig å flytte ut midlertidig.....

De midlertidige bygningene som er satt av kommunen i Sainte-Rose til å huse innbyggerne fra
Bois-Blanc har nå 600 sengeplasser klare for dem som frivillig evakuerer. Med hjelp fra nabokommunene kan vi plassere inntil 4.000 mennesker på en gang. Men halvparten av dem
som bor i de truede områdene forblir enten der - eller har dratt til slektninger mens det står på. Kun 16 familier benyttet seg av tilbudet første natt.

Kveg på markene er et problem bøndene har fått å hanskes med.

Bois-Blanc er først og fremst et landbruksdistrikt, og i særdeleshet et område hvor kveg og andre husdyr hører til hovednæringen. Med den følge det får for dyrene å evakuere sier det seg selv at mange venter i det lengste.

Legg merke til hvordan skog og vegetasjon er blitt brent
langs ruten lavaen følger ned mot kysten!

Et praktfullt syn hvis du kan betrakte det litt på avstand.

Røyksøylene står til værs der lavaen renner ut i havet.

Om natten er det et fantastisk skuespill i havkanten.

Bois-Blanc, som kan bli truet, øverst til høyre.
Den svarte stripen ned mot havet viser lavastrømmens rute.

Bilde som viser en del av det nye 'landområdet' der lavaen når havet.
Igjen, legg merke til de avsvidde områdene.

Flere av de evakuerte har vært nødt til å pakke sine klær og andre eiendeler som papirer,
TV, kjøleskap eller innhold og kjøre det bort i nattemørket ,men de fikk jo uventet
lys på veien fra den nærliggende lavastrømmen....

Verst var det for dem som ikke rakk å komme seg unna i tide.
Og mange ble hindret fordi nysgjerrige hadde parkert omtrent sånn
som vi gjør det her hjemme om vinteren når alle skal ut i skiløypene....

Tilskuere manglet det ikke til utbruddet. Legg merke til
alle bilene på veien. Noen 'turister' skulle absolutt ut på den
størknede lavaen, til tross for advarslene og forbudet fra gendarmene.
Kort tid etter kom de slukøret tilbake og skyndte seg hjem.
For å kjøpe seg nye sko, montro?

Selv i dagslys kan lavaens møte med have oppvise et utrolig skuespill.

Ovenstående reportasje er hentet fra
© Fotografer: Rene og Frédéric Laï-Yu, Valerie Koch, François Martel-Asselin, Sophie Boudet
og Philippe Petit

10.januar 2002

Piton gir seg ikke med det første denne gangen heller

Ingen aktivitet var synlig i går, og man vurderte å åpne veiene for tilskuere, det er tross
alt derfor mange turister kommer til Reunion, og etter 24 timers stillhet trodde man at
det var over for denne gang. Den seismiske aktivitet har imidlertid tatt seg opp igjen,
og man frykter nå at flere åpninger vil dukke opp.

Man sammenligner nå hendelsesforløpet med utbruddet i 1977, hvor man også hadde en
6 timers utbruddsperiode, hvoretter alt ble stille - for så plutselig å konstatere at
nye åpninger dukker opp, og nye lavaflommer lyser opp fjellskråningene i nattemørket.
Vi følger med de nærmeste dagene også.

8.januar 2002
Geologer på plass - og nysgjerrige turister, selvfølgelig.....
Photographs François Martel-Asselin & Frederic Laï-Yu

Årets første større utbrudd foregikk på øya Reunion nær Madagaskar, og begynte den
5.januar kl. 23.00 lokal tid. Utbruddet var til å begynne med ganske voldsomt, og sendte
kaskader av lava nedover fjellsiden mot Osmunds-lavsletten. 12 timer senere, søndag formiddag, var bare 2 av de 4 åpningene aktive. Søndag kveld skal den seismiske aktiviteten ha avtatt, og bare en av de fire åpningene fremdeles aktive.

Photographs François Martel-Asselin & Frederic Laï-Yu                                                                © Imaz Press Réunion 2000-2001

    © Imaz Press Réunion 2000-2001

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