The Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise reported an eruption on Piton de la Fournaise, an active volcano on Réunion Island, an overseas department of France in the Indian Ocean, on Friday 27 April 2018. Seismic activity beneath the volcano began to increase sharply at about 8.15 pm local time, followed by an eruption that started at about 11.50 pm. This has been accompanied by the opening of an eruptive fissure on the southern flank of the volcano. Access to the summit of the volcano, which is home to several popular tourist trails, has been closed off due to concerns about the possibility of a collapse, and the Toulouse Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has issued a warning to aviation in the area.
Piton de la Fournaise is believed to have been active for about 530 000 years, though its geology is complicated to unravel as lava flows are interbedded with those from Piton des Neiges, a larger, older and now extinct volcano to the northwest, which is responsible for the formation of about two thirds of the island. The island sits on the Réunion Hotspot, a deep mantle plume which is thought to have been active for about 66 million years, originally forming under what is now northeastern India, where it was responsible for the Deccan Traps flood basalts, then moving southward across the Indian Ocean (or more precisely sitting still while the continental plate upon which India and the Indian Ocean sit moves to the north), over time forming the Laccadive Islands, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Rodrigues Island, Mauritius and Réunion.
The location of Piton de la Fornaise on Réunion Island. Google Maps.
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