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A report on piton de la fournaise and piton des neiges

News Reunion is a fascinating volcanic island that inspires both awe and wonder.

Report on Piton de la Fournaise (France) — 9 May-15 May 2018

It combines an easy-going lifestyle with intense natural events, the highlight of which are its frequent but safe! Reunion is a volcanic island formed 2 to 3 million years ago.

  • There are three medium-difficulty tracks leading up to the peak, one from the Cirque de Salazie , one from the Cirque de Cilaos and one from La Plaine des Cafres;
  • Walkers often arrive there after a long day trek up the mountain, and start out very early the next day to watch the sunrise from the summit;
  • Over the next two days the crater of the main cone narrowed and lava projections at both cones became rare;
  • Only six eruptions, in 1708, 1774, 1776, 1800, 1977, and 1986, have originated from fissures on the outer flanks of the caldera.

Snowfalls there are extremely rare, brief, and are often obscured by bad weather. It is actually quite exceptional to see snow-covered summits in Reunion, but apparently an episode of snow in 1735 gave rise to its current name.

Its last eruption took place in -10 000 BCE. According to the experts, magma from a new eruption would take a year to reach the surface, so we would have plenty of time to take all the necessary safety measures!

Piton des Neiges

Volcanoes are considered to have a lifespan of between 500,000 and 1 million years; tens, hundreds or even thousands of years can separate eruptions. Piton des Neiges is a must-see on Reunion, and hikers appreciate the breathtaking views over the whole island from its peak. This shield volcano has an elevation of 2,632 metres, and is known for its effusive eruptions. Effusive volcanoes are not explosive, rather a steady flow of liquid lava streams out of them onto the ground.

Piton de la Fournaise in its current form only dates back about 4,700 years, but it is actually over 530,000 years old. A large number of walks are possible in and around the volcano, such as the hike up Dolomieu crater from Pas de Bellecombe roughly a 5-hour round trip.

April 2007 On 30 March 2007 a major eruption began, and lava started flowing from the south-east slopes of La Fournaise.

Piton des Neiges and Piton de la Fournaise: the origins of Reunion Island

Not far from the eruption site the inhabitants of Le Tremblet feared not only that a lava flow would destroy their village, as was the case in 1986, but also that acid rain and fires would destroy crops and vegetation. Incidentally, this makes Reunion the only French department to see its surface area increase!

A report on piton de la fournaise and piton des neiges

From 31 August onwards a number of less common features formed, such as spatter cones that projected lava and blasts of steam. March 1998 This eruption was the longest ever recorded on Reunion, and lasted 196 days without interruption. So on the one hand you have a young, effusive, and unpredictable volcano. And on the other hand you have a majestic but extinct volcano that dominates the Indian Ocean. Has our article made you want to experience them for yourself?

We organise trips to Piton de la Fournaise. Because reading about it is one thing, but seeing it with your own eyes is even better!