A new eruption, so far small, began this Sunday at 13:45 from a fissure vent at the the southeast slopes of the Dolomieux crater inside the Enclos next to the Château Fort cone. An intense seismic crisis with 5-7 earthquakes per minutes started 55 minutes before the onset of the eruption, as magma pushed its way to the surface. A few minutes after the beginning of the quakes, significant deformation of the Dolomieu crater rim could be measured as well.
The prefecture of La Réunion triggered alert phase 2 and closed access to the Enclos. The new eruption seems to be similar in its (small) size and vent location as the last one that occurred between 4-16 February this year. Both probably originate from a same shallow magma reservoir that by early 2015 had grown enough to produce eruptions at the surface. Frequent (several per year), but generally small eruptions have been a typical feature of Piton de la Fournaise during much of the volcano’s recent past decades. EP