The volcanic eruptions of Piton de La Fournaise

Constant activity
The volcano eruption

It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and its eruptions are spectacles of truly fascinating natural power.

2015 Eruptions

The Piton de la Fournaise wears its name well and is at the height of its reputation as the volcano has been very active in 2015. Go and see this master of the Earth and take your camera to relive the unique moments of your adventure in pictures. Thrills guaranteed!

The Piton de la Fournaise is activated again 30 October 2015 .

After an increase in seismic activity recorded by the Volcano Observatory of Piton de la Fournaise , the volcano has been recovering from the effusive activity.
Since 4am this morning , the activity has been further intensified to become comparable to that of Saturday, October 24 . The activity is concentrated in the crater formed during the eruption started on August 24 in the crater area and therefore visible RIVALS Piton de BERT .
Consequently , the Prefect of Reunion triggered this day at 7:30 am , warning 2-2 Plan " ORSEC * Volcano " : ongoing eruption .

This new volcanic activity, which hasn't impacted on the local life, offers a unique spectacle to visitors who can safely observe from the edge of the enclosure.

The Piton de la Fournaise is making its big comeback

It erupted, for the fourth time this year, on Monday, 24 August 2015 at 6.50 pm, after a relatively short seismic tremor. It is spectacle that can be seen from all sides. The eruption is on the north-north-west of the Bory crater and is visible from the Piton de Bert and also from Pas de Bellecombe.

Three is the magic number!

On the eve of the 5th anniversary of the exceptional landscapes and natural phenomena being listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the Piton de La Fournaise volcano offered visitors its spectacular show as a gift.

The Piton de La Fournaise erupted on Friday 31 July 2015 at 9.55 am. According to the Volcanic Observatory, the eruption was located north-east of Dolomieu at the level of the Faujas crater. For a most beautiful view of the eruption and to admire this grand spectacle, the gushing grey, red and orange lava head in the direction of Piton Partage (a half hour walk) from Pas de Bellecombe.

In 2015, the first eruption began on 4 February and ended on 16 February, the second began on 17 May and ended on 31 May. After three days of spectacle, starting on 31 July, the third eruption ended on Sunday 2 August 2015 at 11.15 am.

Holiday tips: To observe
the eruption safely.

The Piton de La Fournaise eruptions of 17 May 2015 and 4 February 2015

It is quite normal for the volcano to be given so much respect: it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupting every nine months on average. Piton de la Fournaise erupted on Sunday 17 May 2015 at 1.45 pm and became calm again on Saturday 30 May 2015 at 8.50 pm.

This was the second eruption of 2015, it had already woken up on Wednesday 4 February 2015 and this phenomenon had lasted until Monday 16 February 2015.

The Piton de La Fournaise eruption of 21 june 2014

The Piton de la Fournaise has a sense of timing. The famous reunionese volcano, the main tourist attraction on the island and classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, woke up in the middle of the night on 21 June 2014 after four years of slumber! No one could have dreamed of a more magical firework display for the Annual Music Festival! The giant fire breathing volcano was almost on time for another important date: the opening of the Cité du Volcan museum, on 5 August. We can’t really criticise the timing, especially because the volcano has been there for 500,000 years! The spectacular eruption acted as a premiere for the museum, inviting everyone to go and visit!

One of the most active volcanoes in the world

It is normal to revere the volcano to this extent. It has its place amongst the most active volcanoes on the planet, with an average of one eruption every nine months. The June eruption was on its east side, within the Enclos Fouqué, the immense crater in the shape of a horseshoe, measuring 9km wide by 13km long. All of the marked-out paths providing access to the higher levels had to be closed. Usual security measures were implemented, closing the area off to the public for the first days of the eruption until activity had stabilised. The lava flows were visible from helicopters and micro-lights, providing an unforgettable view, and also from the coast at Grand Brûlé and Bois Vert, for example. The lava which flows down to the Indian Ocean sculpts the incredible lunar-like landscapes a little more every time. The Piton de la Fournaise stands high at 2,631m, just beaten by the Piton des Neiges at 3,071m, although the latter has been extinct for 12,000 years. These flows are typical of the Hawaiian type of volcano, whose lava is very fluid.

The lava leaves the bowels of the Earth with ease, without an explosion, following a fascinating subterranean process: The lava comes from the mantle (the part of the Earth between the core and the crust), filling the magma reservoir and causing the volcano to expand. Cracks appear, letting gas and lava out in the form of fountains and flows which can reach up to 1,000°C! They are so hot that several months after, they still emit heat !

Monitored eruptions

These volcanic phenomena are intensely studied and monitored by scientists and by the volcanology observatory, which constantly carries out necessary safety measures, and which can predict eruptions weeks in advance. If needed, an emergency plan is provided for hikers and inhabitants of the villages at the foot of the Piton de la Fournaise, in the south-east of Reunion Island. The eruptions which led to the most serious damage are 30 years apart. In 1977, the lava devastated Piton Sainte-Rose, and miraculously stopped at the door of the church of Notre Dame des Laves! In April 2007, an enormous eruption threw out 120 million cubic meters of lava. The flows destroyed the RN2 main road which runs along the coast at the same level as the village of Le Tremblet, between Sainte-Rose and Saint-Phillipe. And that’s not all! Clouds of sulphur and rains of ash and Pele’s hair filled the air. The name Pele’s hair has nothing to do with the famous footballer, but are a reference to the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, Pélé. The substance is made up of fibres which are as sharp as glass, and formed when drops of lava are blown by the wind and stretch out like needles. Consequences of the 2007 eruption included the rebuilding of the RN2 main road and collapse of almost 300m of the Dolomieu crater at the heart of the volcano, which changed the very shape of the Piton de la Fournaise.

To be continued !