Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Video Credit: CEN/Benoit Lincy
This incredible up-close footage shows molten lava erupting from the Piton de la Fournaise volcano creating an impressive and now mile-long lava flow.
These images were filmed by local mountain guide Benoit Lincy who has lived there for almost five years and who ignored the warnings to stay away to take these amazing images of the molten lava flowing from the Piton de la Fournaise volcano as it erupted on the French overseas department of Reunion.
The volcano has also now resumed the eruption it had begun on Monday in spectacular fashion on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean with an impressive mile-long lava flow gushing from a fissure.
The volcano had at first become active on Monday morning at 9.48am before resuming its slumber at around 10pm the same day, but since 5pm on Tuesday it has been waking up again with an impressive lava flow now measuring some 1,600 metres (1 mile) at the time of writing.
The authorities have forbidden anyone from going near the volcano as the area is considered very dangerous. Mr Lincy, an experienced French mountain guide hailing from Brittany, managed to capture these incredible images.
Standing just a few feet from the piping hot molten rock running down the side of the mountain, he caught on film both the lava spewing from the tip of the volcano, as well as the magma running down its side on Monday.
Mr Lincy is a mountain guide and offers guided hikes on the volcano – when it is not erupting, that is.
While the Piton de la Fournaise is 2,632 metres (8,635 feet) high, this latest eruption is taking place at an altitude of approximately 1,800 metres (5,905 feet).
According to Nicolas Villeneuve, a volcanologist speaking to local media, the lava flow is “moving at a speed of about 1kph and has descended to a height of about 1,300 metres (4,265 feet).” He added that it is about to reach a slope and will therefore potentially increase in speed soon, as long as it is fed by fresh lava spewing higher up.
He said that the volcano’s activity may be decreasing so it remains to be seen if this will take place.
At the moment, the lava appears to be heading towards the RN2 main road.
According to local reports, this new eruption could indicate a new phase of the volcano’s life, the likes of which have not been seen since 2002. Other significant and relatively recent eruptions took place in 1977, 1986, and 1999.
The ‘Observatoire Volcanologique Piton de la Fournaise’ (Volcanological Observatory Piton de la Fournaise; OVPF) released a map of the eruption on Monday and said: “Declaring a level 1 alert (access forbidden to the volcano and to nearby paths) at 9.48am allowed for volcano amateurs to be protected.”
Since then, the OVPF have been commenting on the impressive activity, saying on Wednesday morning (today): “The new eruption activity that began on 19th February is continuing. Following an aerial reconnaissance conducted today by an OVPF team, the new eruption site has been accurately located at an altitude of 1,800m at the foot of Piton Madore.”
Mr Lincy, originally from Brittany in France, has been working with nature for 15 years. He has lived in the Reunion for nearly five years. He told Central European News (CEN): “I left my native Brittany and I am currently a mountain guide on this beautiful island. I have been fascinated by volcanoes since I was young and I try to transmit it by discovering the Piton de la Fournaise massif. To do this, I have my mountain guide diploma but I also like to share photos and videos. If you do not find me on the volcano maybe it’s because I am under water… my second passion is the ocean!”
Picture Credit: CEN & CEN/Benoit Lincy & CEN/@ObsFournaise