Bulletin Volcanologique

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 285–298 | Cite as

Volcano-structural evolution of Piton des Neiges, Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

  • L. Chevallier
  • N. Vatin-Perignon


Four volcano-structural stages have accompanied the building of Piton des Neiges: 1) Emergent growth stage of the island. The major eruptive system is a rift zone trending N 120°, associated with dextral strike-slip faults trending N 30° and en-echelon extensional fissures trending N 70°. Breccias and lava tubes produced by aerial and phreatomagmatic activity are injected with outward-dipping dike-swarms along ring fractures suggesting a mechanism analogous to cauldron subsidence. 2) Shield building stages of growth are related to fissures along the main rift zone and three minor rifts trending N 160°, N 45° and N 10°. The summit of the basaltic shield volcano is stretched and collapsed in a graben-like caldera depression along normal and antithetic faults. 3) Differentiated lavas are erupted during two stages separated by the opening of a new caldera corresponding to an explosive activity, a silicic cone-sheet system and a collapse structure. 4) Younger volcanic activity restricted to the inside caldera, has presumably emptied the underlying magma reservoir, building a central volcano collapsed along ring internal dip fractures.

The relationships between magnetic anomalies and transform faults in the Mascarene basin and observed fissure and faults on Piton des Neiges suggest that volcanism would be structurally controlled. Active volcanism occurring possibly as a result of tension at the intersection of an northeast-southwest fracture zone with the paleorift axis (dated by the magnetic anomaly 27).

Models illustrating the gradual evolution of Piton des Neiges would explain successive caldera collapses controlled by the size, the shape and the depth of the magma reservoir.


Magnetic Anomaly Rift Zone Magma Reservoir Olivine Basalt Summit Crater 
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Copyright information

© Intern. Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Chevallier
    • 1
  • N. Vatin-Perignon
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de GéologieInstitut Dolomieu L.A. 69 CNRS, Université Scientifique et Médicale de GrenobleGrenoble CedexFrance

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