Deep fluid transfer evidenced by surface deformation during the 2014-2015 unrest at Piton de la Fournaise volcano

Alessandro Aiuppa, Andrea Di Muro, Benoit Taisne, Nicolas Villeneuve, Kevin Jourde, François Beauducel, Allan Derrien, Alessandro Aiuppa, Aline Peltier, Valérie Ferrazzini

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Identifying the onset of volcano unrest and providing an unequivocal identification of volcano reawakening remain challenging problems in volcanology. At Piton de la Fournaise, renewal of eruptive activity in 2014-2015, after 41months of quiescence and deflation, was associated with long-term continuous edifice inflation measured by GNSS. Inflation started on June 9, 2014, and its rate progressively increased through 2015. Inflation onset was rapidly followed by an eruption on June 20-21, 2014, showing that volcano reactivation can be extremely fast, even after long non-eruptive phases. This short-lived eruption involved a shallow source (1.3-1.9km depth below the summit). The inflation that followed, and eruptions in 2015, involved a larger depth range of fluid accumulation, constrained by inverse modeling at ca. 3.9 to 1.2-1.7km depth. This time evolution reveals that volcano reawakening was associated with continuous pressurization of the shallowest parts of its plumbing system, triggered by progressive upwards transfer of magma from greater depth. A deep magma pulse occurred in mid-April 2015 and was associated with deep seismicity (3 to 9.5km depth) and CO2 enrichment in fluids emitted by summit fumaroles. From this date, ground deformation accelerated and the output rates of eruptions increased, culminating in the long-lasting, large-volume, August-October eruption (~36Mm3). This evolution suggests that deep magma/fluid transfer through an open conduit system first provoked the expulsion of the top of the plumbing system in June 2014, and then induced the progressive vertical transfer of the entire plumbing system down to 9km (four eruptions in 2015). The new sustained feeding of the volcano was also at the origin of the hydrothermal system perturbation and the acceleration of the eastern flank motion, which favor lateral dike propagation and the occurrence of frequent and increasingly large eruptions. Our results highlight the fast and progressive way in which basaltic magmatic systems can wake up.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-148
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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    Aiuppa, A., Di Muro, A., Taisne, B., Villeneuve, N., Jourde, K., Beauducel, F., Derrien, A., Aiuppa, A., Peltier, A., & Ferrazzini, V. (2016). Deep fluid transfer evidenced by surface deformation during the 2014-2015 unrest at Piton de la Fournaise volcano. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 321, 140-148.