Image Source: Vulcani & Vulcani Online


ASAR interferograms of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano exhibit clear fringes patterns centred on the Soufriere pit crater, on the external northern flank of the summit Dolomieu caldeira. The range change pattern is asymmetric with respect to the eruptive fissures. Click the image for a High-Resolution Version 

Credits: ESA

Piton de la Fournaise is also known as Reunion and is a twin shield volcano located in the western part of the Indian Ocean. The island of Reunion is made up of two volcanic mountains, Piton des Neiges which covers the central part of the island and Piton de la Fouranaise that is located on the eastern part of the island. These twin summits have been highly eroded over time.

Sunrise at Piton de la Fournaise in full eruption and lava flows down to the Indian Ocean. 

Piton de la Fournaise in full eruption.

Over time there has been two catastrophic eruptions, the first resulting in a nested caldera. Within this caldera formed a cone called Moyen which suffered a similar fate and left a circular caldera measuring 4.3 miles (7 km) in diameter.

Dolomieu crater showing Aa lava.


Today a twin volcano primarily built up of lava is located in the western portion of the caldera. Many parasitic cones exist within the two calderas. The summit of Piton de la Fouranaise in 1961 consisted of three craters Bory, Velain, and Dolomieu. As shown in the pictures above and below Dolomieu continued to be active in an August 1986 eruption.


Dual vent eruption within Dolomieu and showing lava braiding down to the Indian Ocean.

Dolomieu crater with Pahoehoe lava in foreground.


More images of Reunion Island.

Sources of Information:

Neumann van Padang M., 1963, Arabia and the Indian Ocean. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World, Rome: IAVCEI, 16, p.39-41.

Dr. R. B. Trombley, Southwest Volcano Research Centre, Phoenix, AZ

Global Volcanism Program, SI/USGS.

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Reunion Island, Indian Ocean