Piton de la Fournaise

Satellite image of the Piton de la Fournaise

The Piton de la Fournaise is a 2621 m high volcano on the French overseas department of Réunion. It was created 380,000 years ago on the south side of the Piton des Neiges and is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Since 1950, 47 eruptions have been recorded since 1640 for advice on how to almost 180 outbreaks.


The volcano is the last active volcano on Reunion Island, there are always minor eruptions that are relatively harmless, however. It appears similar to the Hawaiian volcanoes thin liquid lava and making its way towards the sea, larger gas explosions there is not. Unlike volcanoes such as Mount St. Helens, Mount Etna or Vesuvius, with its sudden and unpredictable eruptions eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise are quite predictable and therefore relatively harmless.

Although during the outbreaks frequently the coastal road is damaged at the same time pulls the spectacle of the outbreaks, which takes place every two years, onlookers under the slogan: " le volcan il pète » ( " the volcano farts " ) from all over the island.

At the foot of the mountain stands the church of Sainte- Rose, who in 1977 nearly destroyed by a lava flow. The lava penetrated through the portal into the church, but the lava flow came in the middle of the nave to a halt. Since that day, the church Notre- Dame-des- called Laves.


The first ascent, are available from the written records was made on 21 September 1751 by Andoche Dolnet de Palmaroux.

Another expedition in October 1768 led to the discovery of the passport Pas de Bellecombe, which was named after the then Governor, who took part in the ascent personally, but reversed before the passport was found.

The first expedition with scientific character were in 1771 and 1772 carried out by the French botanist Philibert Commerson, accompanied by the Chevalier de Saint Lubin, de Crémont and Jean -Baptiste Geoffroy Lislet.

Since the beginning of the first observations in 1640, almost 180 outbreaks have been described. Systematically done this since the middle of the 20th century, since 1950, there were nearly 50 outbreaks.

Recent eruptions

An outbreak on 2 April 2007 was so great that the main crater of the volcano collapsed. The floor of the 1000 meters long and 500 meter wide crater fell by 300 meters. On 6 November 2009, there has been a renewed small eruption, but that lasted only a few hours. Nevertheless, the inner part of the crater to the public remains locked.

On 14 October 2010 the volcano erupted around 19:00 clock on a secondary craters in the area southeast of the main Château Fort crater from. The eruptions ended on October 31, 2010.

On the evening of December 9, 2010, there was the third time in the current year 2010 an outbreak, this time on the northeastern flank of the main crater Dolomieu.

View of the main crater

Crater Dolomieu after the slump in 2007

Outbreak in 2004 on the slopes of the volcano

Lava crosses the coast road - outbreak in 2005

Outbreak in 2005