Eruption May 2015, La Fournaise
La Fournaise volcano, Réunion island
It is, since the time I waited for an eruption of the Piton de La Fournaise, it is finally the !!! From the announcement of the eruption, I climb to the volcano and walk to the peak of Bert to arrive before the twilight. Arrived at destination, it is a magnificent spectacle that is offered to us. I had already seen an eruption of Piton de La Fournaise, it was during my childhood, in 1998, the famous crater Kapor.
Even to several kilometers of the eruption, one hears the roars, the rumbling of the volcano. The plume of smoke is impressive. One becomes aware of the impressive amount of gas expelled by the volcano at nightfall, when the glow of the melting magma illuminates the plume of smoke.
Thanks to my friend Christophe, I was able to fly a helicopter on this eruption. One more dream come true. From heaven, we have a completely different view of the eruption and lava flows. Even in hovering, about a hundred meters in height, the heat of the flows is impressive. Pilots are extremely vigilant because gas fumes such as sulfur as well as fine particles can cause engine failure. Still unforgettable moments.
After seeing the eruption of the Piton de Bert, from the air in helicopter, comes the moment to approach the closest, on foot. We start the hike around 9pm. In the light of the frontal, we walk in the moonlight on the path of the crater Rival. But the previous eruption of February to cut the trail on about 800 m wide. It is therefore on scrtons and without markings that we have to cross this flow. Once we pass the Chateau-Fort crater, we arrive at the site of the eruption. It is at this moment that the clouds arrive. The atmosphere changes suddenly. The fog takes on an orange tint. It feels like another planet. My friends Christophe, having a great experience of eruptions brings us closer to the torrent of lava, only 5 meters. Closer is impossible without thermal protection. At 5 meters you can only stay for a few seconds, so the heat is intense. Under our feet, the rock is solidified, but only a few centimeters deep, we can see that it is still glowing, melting. Sulfur emanations burns our throats and eyes. Gas masks become imperative. Due to the fog and persistent rain, we are quickly soaked to the bone, although we have our equipment against the cold and rain. We get closer to the lava flows just cooled to warm us up and make coffee heated to the lava. Singular, atypical moments. My friends doze off for a moment, tired by the approaching walk and the cold. I am still awake. I am astounded by the eruption, by the apocalyptic atmosphere that reigns. I try to make some pictures in the rain. I watch the surroundings. We are just at the foot of the cone and a little lava flow at any time. We must not forget that we are in a hostile environment, with little visibility, cold, rain, and a volcano that spits gas and molten magma some meters away from us. I just love it!!!!
You will find more information about this eruption via this link: Eruption May 17, 2015