The erupting volcano has entered the fourth day of the eruption on Wednesday, August 14, after activity began after 4pm local time on Sunday. Since the eruption started, two volcanic fissures split the mountain’s east flank wide open, spewing rivers of lava towards the coast. Aerial pictures of the volcano show bright streams of molten rock slowly making their way towards the coastal highway RN2. Amateur volcanologists and witnesses to the incredible event were photographed watching the eruption along the same road.
As of Tuesday, August 12, at 1.24pm BST, the first volcanic fissure has ceased activity.
But the Volcanological Observatory Piton de la Fournaise (OVPF) confirmed the second crack is still oozing lava at a height of 1,968ft to 2,132ft (600m to 650m).
On Tuesday morning, the lava-spewing fissure was only 1.3 miles (2.1km) from the coastal road.
The lava was photographed scorching the ground black and burning through thick vegetation and trees.
According to the OVPF, the alert level at 11.54pm BST was Alert 2-2 and the “eruption is in progress”.
Alert 2-2 means: “The eruption is located and confined within the enclosure. It does not pose a direct threat to the safety of people and property.
“Actions: None in the immediate future because during alert 2-1, access to the place has already been forbidden, places at risk have been evacuated and helicopters have already been forbidden.”
Piton de la Fournaise is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, outranked only by Kilauea on Hawaii and Etna in Italy.
The volcano sits on the southeastern tip of Reunion Island – a French department in the Indian Ocean, to the east of Madagascar and Africa.
The beautiful island’s volcano has so far erupted this year between February and March, in June and in July.
The first eruption of the year clocked in at 20 days but the July incident, between July 29 and July 30, lasted less than a full day.
On Sunday, the volcano roared back to life when strong seismic activity shook Reunion island around 7am local time.
The tremors were triggered by the flow of magma from deep underground and into the volcano.
On Wednesday, the OVPF also recorded landslides near the volcano’s top cone.
The surrounding areas are now closed off to the public but the volcano is, thankfully, uninhabited.
Access to the Fouqué enclosure and Pas de Bellecombe trail is forbidden off to the public and aircraft until further notice.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.