Time-lapse video of yesterday's fissure eruption at Piton de la Fournaise


Piton de la Fournaise erupting on December 14, 2009. Image courtesy of the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise.

A while back I reported on a brief eruption at Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island and now a number of Eruptions readers have pointed out to me that it has erupted again (french). Seems like a similar event to the previous, with fissure vent effusive flows on the southern and eastern slopes of the shield volcano.

Here is the report from Guillaume Levieux of the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise:

Piton de la Fournaise volcano erupted Monday, December 14, 2009 at 18:45
(local time GMT +4). The eruption was preceded by a seismic crisis and a
raise of the summit area deformations, which started at 17:30 (GMT +4). The
eruptive tremor began at 18:30 (GMT+4).

A system of sub-parallel fractures along the summit of Dolomieu crater fed
lava flows on the southern slope of the Piton de la Fournaise, inside the
Enclos Fouqué. A second fissures system opened on the eastern flank of the
Dolomieu summit crater at 20:25 (GMT +4). Then lava flows were spent towards
the eastern slope.

This eruption ended during the night at 00h40 (GMT +4) after a gradual
decrease in magma supply from midnight (local time). This morning, Tuesday,
December 15, 2009, a visible degassing in the south and southeast fractures
is associated with a low intensity eruptive tremor. All of the lava flows
was confined to high zone of the volcano and more specifically the slopes
south and south-east of Piton de la Fournaise.

You can find out more info on the IPGP website, which includes an incredibly cool time-lapse video of the eruption as it occurred. The fissure opens with fountaining that then sends lava flows down the slopes of Piton de la Fournaise. It is one of the better videos I've seen that show that Hawaiian-style eruption stages of fountaining followed by flows as the presumed dike erupts along the fissure.

{Hat tip to Boris Behncke for the link to the video}.

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Shall we have a contest on if it's a spider or a fly in the picture?

By Gijs de Reijke (not verified) on 15 Dec 2009 #permalink

Why not? I say it is a spider.

By Chance Metz (not verified) on 15 Dec 2009 #permalink

Clearly a spider.

I have processed the video with state of the art technology [resides on my kid's computer, do you think I'd have the know how to use that stuff? I'm too old] and the verdict is: spider. Eight legs. The eruption was more interesting, though.

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the blarring spike in worldwide volcanic activity in 2009?

By George Luzniak (not verified) on 16 Dec 2009 #permalink

I was on the caldera rim of Piton de la Fournaise at 5:30am on 16th December and, having come from Mauritius and having had no access to the Internet for days, did not realise that it had erupted the percious day - How dumb is that? I was disappointed to not have access to the crater walk. How long has that path been closed? I am really out of date with this - I must vist Eruptions before I go next time!

By Gerald Roos (not verified) on 21 Dec 2009 #permalink

My my my, I can feel the nostalgia. Those Golden days are still worth remembering. You presented a true picture of Alfred Rugby and i hope they will keep our heads high

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Hi. First of all - fantastic blog! Secondly this information was also good and interesting to read, but I don't think everything you have said is real truth. I will need to google about few things you have mentioned in your artcile to make sure. But anyway thanks for trying and good luck on writing other articles. P.S sorry for bad English, I aren't English native speaker.