La Réunion spits fire

In 2014 we were still able to climb it, without molten shoe soles. I am talking about the Piton de La Fournaise, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Since our ascent a few years ago, La Fournaise spit no less than thirteen times her pent-up lava into the air. And now the mountain is emptying its lungs for the fourteenth time since our visit.

Foto getrokken tijdens ons nachtelijk vertrek naar de top van de Piton de la Fournaise in 2014

With its 8,631 feet (2631m) of altitude, this shield volcano has become the figurehead of the island of La Réunion. A shield volcano is a volcano that has flat slopes. Unlike stratovolcanoes, the eruptions of a shield volcano are usually a lot less explosive.

Wim op de top van de Piton de la Fournaise in 2014

But explosive or not, based on the pictures that fournaise.info posted on its website, it seems that the temperatures are starting to rise considerably in the volcanic mountains. On February 19th the mountain began to become restless with a first eruption. But yesterday the volcano added a little extra to that. The observatory indicates that a regular activity is visible on the mountain, with lava emissions being abundant. However, the estimated lava flows remain relatively low. There also appears to be a lava tunnel activity at the foot of the erupting crater, which is now 82 feet (25m) high and has a diameter of 164 feet (50m).

Photo by Ben Celui Ci

The lava flow itself is running down the mountain in three streams. The longest stream is now about 656 feet (200m) long and is located 2,8 miles (4km) from the road and 3,2 miles (5km) from the ocean. The entire area has been closed to the public for security reasons. Hikers will not be allowed to the nature reserve and helicopters are also denied access to the airspace.

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