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First results of the Mayobs 13 mission: interview and decoding

Interview with Aline Peltier, REVOSIMA operational manager and director of OVPF (Observatoire volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise) and Jean-Christophe Komorowski, scientific manager of volcanological and seismological observatories at IPGP, following the first results of the Mayobs 13-1 (May 6th to 20th, 2020) and Mayobs 13-2 (May 4th to 11th, 2020) campaigns.

First results of the Mayobs 13 mission: interview and decoding

Publication date: 09/06/2020

Observatories, Press, Research

Related themes : Natural Hazards

What contribution do these new results make to our understanding of the seismo-volcanic crisis off Mayotte?

These results are very important for the monitoring and operational core of REVOSIMA (Réseau de surveillance volcanologique et sismologique de Mayotte). The onshore networks allow us to monitor seismic activity and sources of deformation at depth, which indicate that fluid circulation is still taking place in the lithosphere, but they do not allow us to say that the eruption is continuing. Thanks to these new elements, we now know that the eruption has continued since the August 2019 campaign.

Map of operations and observations for the Mayobs 13-2 campaign

It will now be interesting to compare the volumes of lava emitted between the last two campaigns (August 2019 and May 2020) and the volumes of deformation sources, in order to validate the correlation between the spatio-temporal monitoring of variations in the volume of deformation sources and the spatio-temporal monitoring of the volume of lava emitted, and thus better constrain a causal link between these processes.

Morphological changes in the volcano area recorded in May 2020 (MAYOBS13-2).

Will this new scientific data help us to decipher how the current eruption works?

We’re going to be able to refine the various conceptual models of how the eruption was fed and try to sort out the hypotheses: do these new lava flows and eruptive structures represent…

1. the propagation of a magma vein (dyke) superficially, from the main conduit that fed the new volcano of almost 5.1 km3 discovered in May 2019?

2. the propagation of a new dyke, directly from the magma reservoir located at a depth of around 20 km in the lithosphere, which fed the main volcano, but without passing through it?

3. the westward migration of eruptive activity by a few kilometres and the emptying of new magma storage zones at varying depths, which had not been involved in this eruption until now?


Is knowing the regime of the eruption a key step in understanding this seismic-volcanic phenomenon?

It’s a priority if we are to obtain better constrained data on how the volcano works, so that we can more effectively detect any changes in the behaviour of this baseline. In particular, this will enable us to determine the extent and speed of these changes in the measurements recorded on land. This makes it possible to compare changes in eruptive activity with the scenarios developed by scientists, which are associated with hazards of varying degrees of impact on Mayotte. In addition to the resulting leap in knowledge, this new data is fundamental to researchers’ ability to detect changes in the behaviour of seismo-volcanic activity and communicate them, as part of their support for public policy, to the authorities in charge of civil protection response.


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