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}.


  1. #1 Gijs de Reijke
    December 15, 2009

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

  2. #2 Chance Metz
    December 15, 2009

    Why not? I say it is a spider.

  3. #3 Art
    December 15, 2009

    Clearly a spider.

  4. #4 Dave Tucker
    December 15, 2009

    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.

  5. #5 George Luzniak
    December 16, 2009

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

  6. #6 Gerald Roos
    December 21, 2009

    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!

  7. #7 motel townsville
    October 20, 2010

    Exhaustively flippant and deceit with the end of days

  8. #8 Berry Sadeghi
    November 21, 2010

    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

  9. #9 Hello Kitty Slippers
    November 24, 2010

    Things you mentioned sounds right. Yet, think about this, what if you included a little more? I am talking about, I dont tend to teach how to run ur blog, but what if you actually added more stuff which can grab people’s notice? Just as a video clip or simply a graphic or 2 to have your readers interested about what you mentioned.

  10. #10 Kvepalai
    December 15, 2010

    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.

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