La Réunion Island: A Typical Example of a Basaltic Shield Volcano with Rapid Evolution

  • Nicolas Villeneuve
  • Patrick Bachèlery
  • Jacobus Kemp
Chapter

Abstract

La Réunion Island is a volcanic area located in a tropical climate context. Volcanism has built up a 7 km high cone over the last five million years. For the last two or three million years, magmatic, tectonic and weathering processes have been engaged in a gigantic race to shape the island’s morphologies, with dramatic consequences in terms of landforms such as volcanic peaks (the dormant Piton des Neiges and active Piton de la Fournaise), cliffs or “ramparts”, deep gorges and waterfalls which, together with endemic flora and fauna, helped the central part of La Réunion to be recently recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Yet, induced natural hazards such as volcanic eruptions and landslides remain a threat for the population.

Keywords

Basaltic shield volcanoes Volcanic geomorphology Evolution Natural hazard 

References

  1. Bachèlery P, Robineau B, Courteaud M, Savin C (2003) Avalanches de débris sur le flanc occidental du volcan-bouclier Piton des Neiges (Réunion). Bull Soc Géol Fr 174:125–140Google Scholar
  2. Camoin GF, Colonna M, Montaggioni LF, Casanova J, Faure G, Thomassin BA (1997) Holocene sea level changes and reef development in southwestern Indian Ocean. Coral Reef 16:247–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Courteaud M (1996) Etudes des structures géologiques et hydrogéologiques du massif de La Fournaise par la méthode audiomagnétollurique. PhD thesis, Université de La Réunion, Réunion, p 212Google Scholar
  4. Deniel C, Kieffer G, Lecointre J (1992) New 230Th-238U and 14C age determinations from Piton des Neiges volcano, Reunion – a revised chronology for the differentiated series. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 51:253–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fèvre Y (2005) Mécanismes et vitesses d’érosion à l’échelle géologique sur une île volcanique jeune à relief élevé – La Réunion (Océan Indien). PhD thesis, La Réunion, p 217Google Scholar
  6. Garcin M, Poisson B, Pouget R (2005) High rates of geomorphological processes in a tropical area: the Remparts River case study (Réunion Island, Indian Ocean). Geomorphology 67(3):335–350. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2004.11.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Le Friant A, Lebas E, Clément V, Boudon G, Deplus C, De Voogd B, Bachèlery P (2011) A new model for the evolution of La Réunion volcanic complex from complete marine geophysical surveys. Geophys Res Lett 38:L09312. doi:10.1029/2011GL047489 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lénat J-F, Bachèlery P, Desmulier F (2001) Genèse du champ de lave de l’Enclos Fouqué: une eruption d’envergure exceptionnelle au Piton de la Fournaise (Réunion) au 18ème siècle. Bull Soc Géol Fr 172:177–188Google Scholar
  9. Lénat J-F, Bachèlery P, Merle O (2012) Anatomy of Piton de la Fournaise volcano (La Réunion, Indian Ocean). Bull Volcanol 74:1945–1961. doi:10.1007/s00445-012-0640-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Merle O, Mairine P, Michon L, Bachèlery P, Smietana M (2010) Calderas, landslides and paleo-canyons on Piton de la Fournaise volcano (La Réunion Island, Indian Ocean). J Volcanol Geotherm Res 189:131–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Michon L, Di Muro A, Villeneuve N, Saint-Marc C, Fadda P, Manta F (in Press) Explosive activity of the summit cone of Piton de la Fournaise volcano (La Réunion island): a historical and geological review. Submitted to J Volcanol Geotherm ResGoogle Scholar
  12. Oehler J-F, Lénat J-F, Labazuy P (2008) Growth and collapse of the Reunion Island volcanoes. Bull Volcanol 70:717–742. doi:10.1007/s00445-007-0163-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ollier C (1988) Volcanoes. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Saint-Ange F, Savoye B, Michon L, Bachèlery P, Deplus C, De Voogd B, Dyment J, Le Drezen E, Voisset M, Le Friant A, Boudon G (2011) A volcaniclastic deep-sea fan off La Réunion Island (Indian Ocean). Grad Vs Catastr Geol 39:271–274. doi:10.1130/G31478.1 Google Scholar
  15. Salvany T, Lahitte P, Nativel P, Gillot P-Y (2012) Geomorphic evolution of the Piton des Neiges volcano (Réunion Island, Indian Ocean): competition between volcanic construction and erosion since 1.4 Ma. Geomorphology 136:132–147. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2011.06.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolas Villeneuve
    • 1
  • Patrick Bachèlery
    • 2
  • Jacobus Kemp
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire Géosciences RéunionUniversité de La Réunion, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Sorbonne Paris-Cité, UMR 7154 CNRSSaint-DenisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Magmas et VolcansUMR 6524, CNRS-IRD-Université Blaise Pascal, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-FerrandClermont-FerrandFrance
  3. 3.Department of Geography and Environmental StudiesStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations