Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 713-722

First online:

Detailed gravity study of the offshore structure of Piton de la Fournaise volcano, Reunion Island

  • Dominique RoussetAffiliated withCentre Géologique et Géophysique, USTL
  • , Alain BonnevilleAffiliated withU. A. CNRS NO 10, Centre de Recherches volcanologiques 5
  • , Jean-François LenatAffiliated withU. A. CNRS NO 10, Centre de Recherches volcanologiques 5

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We present an interpretation of gravity data acquired in 1984 by the French R/V Jean Charcot on the submarine part of the eastern flank of Piton de la Fournaise volcano. We comment on the Bouguer anomaly map and give a quantitative interpretation of three gravity profiles. The main results are that a gravity high over Grand Brûlé, the lower subaerial part of the eastern flank, does not extend far offshore and that an anomalous topographic feature, discovered in 1982 on the submarine eastern flank, is characterized by a large negative anomaly. We propose three hypotheses to explain the origin of this anomaly, i. e., it marks the site of a new volcano, or it is a consequence of lateral volcanism from a volcano older than Piton de la Fournaise, or more probably, it represents a great landslide deposit.