|The two active vents with lava flows yesterday (photo: Planétaire974)|
May 18, 2015 - REUNION ISLAND - The new eruption continues, although only the lowest vent seems to be still active by now.
It continues to feed a large lava flow now headed towards the vast coastal flat to the east. In the course of today, it reached the steeper section of the Enclos, the "Grandes Pentes" and started to descend there.
At this point, the lava flow, approx. 4-5 km long could be seen from the popular "lava road" (which might be closed off soon).
|The lava flow descending on the Grandes Pentes (photo: JPL / Fournaise Info)|
The lower fissure vent opened shortly after the first eruptive fissure had opened higher up on the flanks of Dolomieu crater, near the 1948 cinder cone "Chateau Fort". As is typical, the lower vent produced the more significant lava fountaining and lava flow effusion.
Compared to the last eruption in February, the current one seems to be much more intense. This could be explained if the eruption is fed by a deeper reservoir instead of a shallow pocket of magma (as was the case in February).
May 17 Update: A new eruption, so far small, began this Sunday at 13:45 from a fissure vent at the the southeast slopes of the Dolomieux crater inside the Enclos next to the Château Fort cone.
An intense seismic crisis with 5-7 earthquakes per minutes started 55 minutes before the onset of the eruption, as magma pushed its way to the surface. A few minutes after the beginning of the quakes, significant deformation of the Dolomieu crater rim could be measured as well.
The prefecture of La Réunion triggered alert phase 2 and closed access to the Enclos.
|Fissure eruption at Piton de la Fournaise today|
The new eruption seems to be similar in its (small) size and vent location as the last one that occurred between 4-16 February this year. Both probably originate from a same shallow magma reservoir that by early 2015 had grown enough to produce eruptions at the surface.
Frequent (several per year), but generally small eruptions have been a typical feature of Piton de la Fournaise during much of the volcano's recent past decades. - Volcano Discovery.