Volcano Crisis Management at Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion) during the COVID-19 Lockdown - Laboratoire GéoSciences Réunion Access content directly
Journal Articles Seismological Research Letters Year : 2021

Volcano Crisis Management at Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion) during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Jean-Luc Froger
Mathieu Gouhier
Lucia Gurioli
Fabrice Fontaine
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Andrew Harris


In March 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and became a global health crisis. Authorities worldwide implemented lockdowns to restrict travel and social exchanges in a global effort to counter the pandemic. In France, and in French overseas departments, the lockdown was effective from 17 March to 11 May 2020. It was in this context that the 2–6 April 2020 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion Island, Indian Ocean) took place. Upon the announcement of the lockdown in France, a reduced activity plan was set up by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, which manages the Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF). The aim was to (1) maintain remote monitoring operations by teleworking and (2) authorize fieldwork only for critical reasons, such as serious breakdowns of stations or transmission relays. This eruption provided an opportunity for the observatory to validate its capacity to manage a volcanic crisis with 100% remotely operated monitoring networks. We thus present the long‐ and short‐term precursors to the eruption, and the evolution of the eruption recorded using the real‐time monitoring data as communicated to the stakeholders. The data were from both continuously recording and transmitting field instruments as well as satellites. The volcano observatory staff remotely managed the volcano crisis with the various stakeholders based only on these remotely functioning networks. Monitoring duties were also assured in the absence of ad hoc field investigation of the eruption by observatory staff or face‐to‐face communications. The density and reliability of the OVPF networks, combined with satellite observations, allowed for trustworthy instrument‐based monitoring of the eruption and continuity of the OVPF duties in issuing regular updates of volcanic activity in the context of a double crisis: volcanic and health.


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hal-03001122 , version 1 (12-11-2020)



Aline Peltier, Valérie R Ferrazzini, Andrea Di Muro, Philippe Di Kowalski, Nicolas Villeneuve, et al.. Volcano Crisis Management at Piton de la Fournaise (La Réunion) during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Seismological Research Letters, 2021, 20 (20), ⟨10.1785/0220200212⟩. ⟨hal-03001122⟩
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