Many journalists traveling en masse to the Indian Ocean Island Reunion to cover the recent unveiling of a jet wing fragment were met with a surprise upon arriving–the eruption of one the planet’s most active volcanoes.
The volcano screamed red-hot lava into the atmosphere near Reunion’s southeastern’s corner. It was so shocking that several reporters suspected that a large-scale evacuation may be necessary, so much so that many considered delaying the search for airplane wreckage believed to be the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
MORE TO THE TROPICAL CHANCE THAN RESCUE
But instead of calling the search off, riveted tourists and scientists climbed the mountain to ogle the chaos, cathartically centering themselves to the pulse of the planet’s life-blood.
“It is a spectacular sight. The molten lava shoots up into the air like a fountain,” whispered Yannick Parrel, a thirty-year-old helicopter pilot who flies tourists over Reunion’s captivating landscape in a tour that typically ends with a broad circle around the volcano’s caldera.
SPECS AND HISTORY OF VOLCANO
Called the Piton de la Fournise (i.e., French for Peak of the Furnace) the volcano is over 530,000 years old, among the world’s most active, and has erupted over 150 times since the 1600s. As such, it rivals other active volcanoes in Antarctica, Italy and Hawaii.
This is the third such eruption for the volcano this year, with the first two occurring February and May.
“This is a long eruptive fissure because at the surface it is about [0.62 miles] long,” explained Aline Peltier, a scientist at the Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory. “After 24 hours we still have five eruption sites. Usually, after a day, we only have one. So this is very interesting.”
PRESENT PRESENCE OF VOLCANO
The screaming lava presently reaches a max height at 44 yards, and it’s creating cones roughly 20 meters high after just one meagre day of eruption, surmised Peltier. This eruption occurred in the Reunion National Park, which happens to be a world heritage site.
THE MASSES MISS THE DANGER-ZONE
Fortunately for ogling tourists, reporters and scientists their sudden cathexis will not be threatened with death anytime soon, since the lava is escaping the caldera by way of the east side of the mountain, via an uninhabited area called the Grand Brule, or the Big Burned, towards the sea. Although some reporters may be nursing repressed memories of volcanoes that did threaten the curious–namely those of the years 1977 and 1986.
On the contrary, while the lava flows down one side of mountain, the masses drove up the mountain to join the rest of the spontaneous tribute to this magnificent display of the Earth’s power.
“Piton de la Fournaise is very interesting because we have so many eruptions and we can study it,” commented scientist Peltier. “We have many monitoring tools measuring things like seismic activity, volcano deformation and gas emissions. It’s a natural laboratory where we can better understand volcanic eruptions.”
Keep cool while volcano watching with HidrateMe: