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Intracaldera explosions and lava emissions during the 2007 caldera collapse of Piton de la Fournaise, La Réunion Island


Vergani, D and McPhie, J and Carey, R and Di Muro, A, Intracaldera explosions and lava emissions during the 2007 caldera collapse of Piton de la Fournaise, La Reunion Island, Bulletin of Volcanology, 84, (3) Article 19. ISSN 1432-0819 (2022) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© The Author(s) 2022

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00445-022-01528-w


The March-April 2007 Piton de la Fournaise basaltic eruption was the most significant eruption on La Réunion Island in historical times. On 2 April, a fissure opened on the southeastern flank of the volcano. Vigorous fountains fed lavas that rapidly reached the coast. Three days later, on the 5–6 April, major caldera collapse occurred at the summit, affecting the floor and walls of Dolomieu caldera. Monitoring records, primarily webcam images, have been analysed and integrated with geophysical data to reconstruct the chronology of events at the summit during caldera collapse. Those events included progressive subsidence of the former caldera floor, landslides, explosions, lava emissions and steam fumaroles, and lasted until 19 April though diminished greatly in frequency after 7 April. For two days after the main caldera collapse on 5 April, subsidence increments, intracaldera lava emission and explosions were closely associated in time and in location. Abundant steam and wet talus on the caldera walls imply that the shallow hydrothermal system and/or groundwater were exposed by subsidence. The presence of juvenile components in ash deposited at the summit during caldera collapse and the close link between intracaldera lavas and explosions suggest that many explosions were phreatomagmatic. Although caldera collapse was related to magma withdrawal from beneath the summit via the flank vent activity, numerous intracaldera lava emissions indicated that magma was nevertheless present at the summit during caldera collapse. We infer that the lava emissions were fed by an intrusion emplaced at the end of March into the eastern summit region and that the intrusion was being actively recharged during caldera collapse. Caldera collapse involved a complex combination of magma withdrawal and magma replenishment at separate summit reservoirs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Piton de la Fournaise, caldera collapse, intracaldera lava, phreatomagmatic explosion, landslide, magma withdrawal
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Geology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Vergani, D (Mr Daniele Vergani)
UTAS Author:McPhie, J (Professor Jocelyn McPhie)
UTAS Author:Carey, R (Associate Professor Rebecca Carey)
ID Code:148752
Year Published:2022
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP110102196)
Deposited By:Earth Sciences
Deposited On:2022-02-07
Last Modified:2022-03-01

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