Éruption from may 17 -31, 2015 : my very first
As a child I’ve already witnessed an eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise. It was the 1998 one which gave birth to the Piton Kapor
Since the time, as an adult, I waited an eruption of the Piton de la Fournaise, it finally happened !!!
As soon as the eruption was announced, I climbed to the volcano and walked to the Piton de Bert to arrive before dusk. I arrived at the destination, to witness the wonderful spectacle that was offered to us.
Even several kilometers away from the eruption the roaring and rumbling of the volcano could be heard. The plume of smoke was impressive.
It’s at nightfall, when the glow of the magma illuminates the plume of smoke that one becomes aware of the astonishing quantity of gas that is expelled by the volcano.
The Piton de Bert seen from the sky
Thanks to my friend Christophe, I was able to fly over this eruption by helicopter. Some other unforgettable moments and a dream that was realized ..
From the sky, we have a completely different view of the eruption and lava flows.
Even in a stationary flight, about a hundred meters above the volcano, the heat of the flows was impressive.
Pilots were extremely vigilant because of the gas emissions (like sulfur) and other fine particles which can cause the engine to shut down.
The piton seen from the earth
After seeing the eruption of the Piton de Bert from the air thanks to the helicopter flight, it was time to travel closer, but on foot this time. We started the hike around 21:00.
By the light of our headlamps, we walked in the moonlight on the Rivals crater path. Because of the previous eruption (the one which happened in February) the trail was cut to about 800 m wide, it was therefore on gratons and without markings that we had to cross this flow.
Once we passed the Chateau-Fort crater, we arrived at the place where the eruption was located.
That is when the clouds arrived. The atmosphere changed suddenly and the fog took an orange tint.
Once again, we could have thought that we were on another planet.
My friend Christophe who has a great experience with eruptions, took us as close as possible to the torrent of lava, only 5 meters away … to go closer is impossible without thermal protection.
Even at 5 meters, you can only stay a few seconds because the heat is very intense. Beneath our feet the rock had solidified, but only a few centimeters deep we could see that it was still glowing, in fusion.
The emanations of sulfur burned our throats and our eyes. Gas masks became imperative.
Despite our best efforts with equipment against the cold and rain, we soon found ourselves soaked to the bones due to the the persistent rain and the dense fog.
We sought to get closer to the just solidified lava flows to warm us up and make coffee!! Singular & atypical moments were guaranteed!!
My friends fell asleep for a while, tired by the approach walk and the cold.
I stayed awake, amazed by the eruption, by the apocalyptic atmosphere that reigned before me.
I tried to take some pictures in the rain while watching the surroundings because it was important to remember the hostile environment we were in, a new lava flow could emerge at any time.
Being cold in the rain with very little visibility and a volcano spitting gas and magma in fusion nearby just a few meters from us: I love this !
You can find more information on this eruption via this link : Eruption 17 mai 2015