July 2, 2014 - Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, La Réunion

Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, La Réunion

The Piton de la Fournaise volcano, which has been erupting about once a year in recent times, has been resting since December 9-10, 2010, when a series of brief eruptions ended with lava flow from a fissure on the north flank of the cone on the summit crater. That restful interlude ended in mid-June 2014.

The most recent awakening began with rumbling seismic activity the week of June 16, which caused the alert level to be elevated and warnings issued for hikers and climbers of the increased danger. On June 21, the volcano erupted, with a number of lava streams reported flowing from two craters, according to Earthquake-report.com. Access is now closed to the public.

Located in the Indian Ocean more than 1,000 km east of Madagascar, Piton de la Fournaise volcano on Reunion Island (21.2°S, 55.7°E), is a basaltic shield volcano very similar to Kilauea volcano (Hawaii) in terms of magma chemistry, the type of eruptions that occur, and the frequency of activity. Its modern eruptions tend to be frequent, but short lived, often beginning with dramatic if not extremely powerful lava fountains followed by large, fluid, basaltic lava flows.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite flew over the volcano on July 21 and captured this true-color image of the eruption. A red outline marks the area where the thermal sensors on the instrument captured high background temperatures, in this case most likely due to upwelling or flowing lava.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 6/21/2014
Resolutions: 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC