Evolution of magma conduits during the 1998-2000 eruptions of Piton de la Fournaise volcano, Réunion Island

Y. Fukushima, V. Cayol, P. Durand, D. Massonnet

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61 Citations (Scopus)


At basaltic volcanoes, magma is transported to the surface through dikes (magma-filled fractures), but the evolution of these dikes as eruptions proceed is rarely documented. In March 1998, after five and a half years of quiescence, Piton de la Fournaise volcano (Réunion Island) entered into a new eruptive phase characterized by intense eruptive activity. Coeruptive displacements recorded by interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) for the first five eruptions of the cycle are analyzed using 3-D boundary element models combined with a Monte Carlo inversion method. We show that the eruptions are associated with the emplacement of lateral dikes rooted at depths of less than about 1000 m, except for the first March 1998 event where an additional deeper source is required. The dikes are located above preeruptive seismic swarms. This is consistent with nearly isotropic stress caused by repeated dike intrusions and low confining pressure enhanced by the presence of pores in the shallowest 1000 m of the edifice. The volumes of the modeled dikes represent 17% of the volume of emitted lava, showing that exogenous growth plays a major role in building the volcano. By taking into account the preeruptive seismicity and tilt data together with the results of InSAR data modeling, we find that dikes first propagate vertically from a source region below sea level before being injected laterally at shallow depth. This behavior is consistent with the presence of levels of neutral buoyancy at shallow depth in the edifice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberB10204
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Oct 1


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