Piton de la Fournaise, which is very popularly known as ‘Peak of the Furnace’, is at present, one among the most active volcanoes in the world. It is a shield volcano situated on the eastern part of the reunion island in the Indian Ocean. It erupted for the first time, some 50,000 years ago, but after the first eruption was recorded in 1640, the volcanoes have erupted over 180 times. Since August 2006, the eruption of volcano is taking place in each consecutive year, with the latest one on 9th December 2010, which lasted for two days.
The Peak of Furnace stretches to a height of about 2,631 meters. The volcano experts along with scientists and researchers are constantly monitoring the Furnace peak, in case there is a need to evacuate the locals and the tourist during enormous eruptions. The 7, 00,000 inhabitants of the Reunion Island have become accustomed to the life amidst the lava path of these peaks. In fact, many locals are earning well by giving guided walk to the tourists and travelers, helping them gather more information regarding these active volcanoes, making them undoubtedly, the most popular tourist attraction of the Reunion.
Some beaches, surrounding the Piton de la Fournaise are greenish in color, due to the presence of olivine sand, which had resulted from the picrite basalt lavas. When the volcanic eruptions take place in the Furnace Peaks, fountains of fluid basaltic lava gush out with fire. The lava flows across to reach the sea finally, creating spectacular results. Most of the times, the boiling lava destroys the highways completely, which are rebuilt two to three times a year.
A characteristic feature of the eruptions of Furnace Peaks is that even for months after an eruption, the core of the lava flow is so hot that it steams even in rainy season. Owing to the boiling temperatures of the Peak of Furnace, there are no signs of flora, fauna or any living species. The Furnace Peaks are mostly visited to see the totally different geological atmosphere with utmost excitement.