Piton de la Fournaise: Lava flow approaches coastal road

The eruption at Piton de la Fournaise continues into the third day and the lava flows continue. Volcanologists of the OVPF were able to make observation flights by helicopter and get a clear picture of the situation: On Sunday 2 eruption fissures opened. They are located on the outside of the east flank, below the edge to Grandes Pentes, at 1700 and 1500 m altitude. The fissures are 1400 m apart. At the time of the flight only the lower fissures were active. Several cinder cones had already formed on the fissure. The lava flowed in multiple arms from the cones and joined to 2 wider streams. They were still about 2 km away from the coastal road RN 2. Their flow velocity decreased in the last hours, because they flowed through densely wooded areas and the vegetation slowed down the lava. Moreover, the slope in this region is less steep. Although the flow velocity decreased, it is quite possible that the lava will interrupt the road. The last time this happened was during the big eruption in 2007.

During the surveillance flight, the researchers also discovered a fumarolic active area in the lower flank area. Lava could have attempted a breakthrough here. If a fissure were to open there, the lava would reach the coast in an instant.

The tremor fluctuated or the eruption strength fluctuated and is now moving sideways at a stable level. Values for heat radiation are not available, because the satellites are blind due to the cloud cover.

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