Piton de la Fournaise Eruption Update for 10/15/2010
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
We now have some more information (Note: pretty much all the information on this eruption is in French) - and more importantly, some great images - of the eruption that is ongoing at Piton de la Fournaise on Reunion Island. The volcano erupted yesterday evening (local time on Reunion Island) and it seems that like the fall 2009 eruption that was clearly a new fissure vent eruption, this eruption is also sourced from a fissure vent (see below) - some of which has coalesced into three fountains/spatter cones along the fissure - see more images of the fissure. The eruption is thought to be a new dike intruding directly under the summit Dolomieu Crater, thus its location and geometry. All in all, this seems a fairly typical eruption for the hotspot volcano - low viscosity mafic lava erupting in fissures, producing lava flows or spatter cones - you can't get much more "Hawaiian" than that. The webcam "Vue depuis Piton de Bert" captures some of the activity from the new eruption.
The new fissure on Piton de la Fournaise, which started on October 14, 2010. The top left image is a close up of this new fissure vent eruption (click on it to see a image version).
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