Route Nationale 3, PK 27, 97418 Bourg-Murat, La Réunion
GPS: -21.242050940702, 55.709294426239
Piton de la Fournaise is a shield volcano located on the eastern part of Reunion Island. This small French overseas archipelago is scattered off the coast of Africa and Madagascar, in the south-west of Mauritius. Formed over 500,000 years ago, the geological site of Piton de la Fournaise is experiencing significant seismic activity due to the movement of tectonic plates. These are at the origin of the formation of the chain of volcanic islands (including Reunion around 3 million years ago) and underwater plateaus scattered in the Indian Ocean.
Piton de la Fournaise is one of the most active volcanoes in the world like the Kilauea in Hawaii. In constant activity from the top of its 2,632 meters in height, this smoking massif has erupted more than once a year on average in recent years. Perforating the earth’s crust from a plateau 4,000 meters deep below sea level, this hot spot of Réunion includes two distinct craters at its summit: the inactive crater Bory (the highest point of the volcano) and the Dolomieu crater, the largest. The latter collapsed by 350 meters following an effusive eruption dating from 2007 while it was still filled with lava. As this bubbling avalanche came into contact with Indian Ocean water, it formed a natural cape, known as Pointe du Tremblet. Even today, the spectacular lava flows of Piton de la Fournaise continue to shape the archipelago of Réunion Island (the temperature of the molten lava reaches 1,200 °C). These still visible remains give way to a splendid postcard decor: volcanic cliff, green vegetation, tropical water and black sand beach.
Attached to Réunion National Park, a large biodiversity zone covering more than 40% of the total surface of the island, Piton de la Fournaise is one of the most popular natural sites in the archipelago. The landscapes to be discovered around the volcano are as beautiful as different from each other: tropical forests, sugar cane plantations, basalt highlands, bubbling massifs, lava fields and lunar calderas. And despite its degree of volcanic activity, the site of Piton de la Fournaise remains one of the most easily accessible and observable volcanoes in the world. From its summit, you may have the chance to see the Indian Ocean in the distance.