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Case Study 1. Reunion Island, France – Piton de la Fournaise Volcano

ByH. Gaudru

More than 170 eruptions, most of which have produced fluid basaltic lava flows, have occurred since the 17th century. Some eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977 and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera. The most recent large-type eruption began on 2 April 2007 with rare intensity. Cracks opened at low altitude and emitted fountains of lava which poured into the ocean – several million cubic metres of incandescent rocks. The inhabitants of the village of Tremblet located in the vicinity, worried about lava flows in the Enclosure, which fortunately did not occur, nevertheless underwent bombardment from ash and lapilli, sulphur gas and acid diffusion, and forest fires. In addition, the withdrawal of the lava contained in the magmatic chamber present beneath the volcano caused a colossal collapse of the Dolomieu crater.