Rift zones and magma plumbing system of Piton de la Fournaise volcano: How do they differ from Hawaii and Etna? - Université de La Réunion Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research Year : 2015

Rift zones and magma plumbing system of Piton de la Fournaise volcano: How do they differ from Hawaii and Etna?


On ocean basaltic volcanoes, magma transfer to the surface proceeds by subvertical ascent from the mantle lithosphere through the oceanic crust and the volcanic edifice, possibly followed by lateral propagation along rift zones. We use a 19-year-long database of volcano-tectonic seismic events together with detailed mapping of the cinder cones and eruptive fissures to determine the geometry and the dynamics of the magma paths intersecting the edifice of Piton de la Fournaise volcano. We show that the overall plumbing system, from about 30 km depth to the surface, is composed of two structural levels that feed distinct types of rift zones. The deep plumbing system is rooted between Piton des Neiges and Piton de la Fournaise volcanoes and has a N30–40 orientation. Above 20 km below sea level (bsl), the main axis switches to a N120 orientation, which permits magma transfer from the lithospheric mantle to the base of the oceanic crust, below the summit of Piton de la Fournaise. The related NW-SE rift zone is 15 km wide, linear, spotted by small to large pyroclastic cones and related lava flows and emits slightly alkaline magmas resulting from high-pressure fractionation of clinopyroxene ± olivine. This rift zone has low magma production rate of ~ 0.5–3.6 × 10 −3 m 3 s −1 and an eruption periodicity of around 200 years over the last 30 ka. Seismic data suggest that the long-lasting activity of this rift zone result from regional NNE-SSW extension, which reactivates inherited lithospheric faults by the effect of underplating and/or thermal erosion of the mantle lithosphere. The shallow plumbing system (b11 km bsl) connects the base of the crust with the Central Cone. It is separated from the deep plumbing system by a relatively large aseismic zone between 8 and 11 km bsl, which may represent a deep storage level of magma. The shallow plumbing system feeds frequent, short-lived summit and flank (NE and SE flanks) eruptions along summit and outer rift zones, respectively. Summit rift zones are very active (~0.1–0.25 m 3 s −1), short (2–3 km), and present an orthogonal pattern confined to the central active cone of Piton de la Fournaise. Outer NE and SE rift zones are much less active (~4–7.3 × 10 −3 m 3 s −1) and extend from inside the Enclos Fouqué caldera to bound the mobile eastern volcano flank. We show that the outer rift zones are almost aseismic and are genetically linked to the seaward flank displacements, whose most recent events where detected in 2004 and 2007. East flank sliding is itself triggered by shallow (b 2 km depth) sill intrusions. We propose that the subvertical magma intrusions along the perpendicular summit rift zones, sill intrusions, and subsequent magma injections along the outer rift zones are controlled by cycles of stress permutations. We thus tentatively propose that as for Piton de la Fournaise, the regional stress field acting on Etna and Hawaiian volcanoes is an important parameter in the control of the magma transfer along their deep plumbing system whereas the dynamics of their summit system is governed by shallow stress variations (above 5–10 km bsl) due to edifice deformation and magma transfers.


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hal-01241283 , version 1 (03-11-2016)



Laurent Michon, Valérie Ferrazzini, Andrea Di Muro, Nicolas Villeneuve, Vincent Famin. Rift zones and magma plumbing system of Piton de la Fournaise volcano: How do they differ from Hawaii and Etna?. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2015, 303, pp.112-129. ⟨10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.07.031⟩. ⟨hal-01241283⟩
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