Gravitational deformation (known as spreading) is concurrent to volcano growth during the lifetime of a volcanic edifice. Spreading may occur during eruption or in inter-eruptive periods, and may lead to rare bu catastrophic mass wasting events, such as for Mount St Helens in 1980.
Our team has devoted a large attention to the deformation of basaltic volcanoes in relationship with their eruptive or intrusive activity. Field work on an eroded volcano (Piton des Neiges) showed that sill intrusion is the most common mode of magma injection in an edifice. Sill intrusion may be explained by recurrent stress permutation in a volcanic edifice. Numerical simulation of sill intrusion suggests sills are able to generate lateral flank deformation. These simulations lead us to search for evidence of co-intrusive flank displacement during sill intrusion, which was found in 2016. Applying these results to Piton de la Fournaise, it is likely that the large flank sliding that occurred during the April 2007 eruption was due to a sill intrusion in the eastern flank of the edifice.
Featured publications :
Chaput, M., Famin, V., & Michon, L. (2014). Deformation of basaltic shield volcanoes under cointrusive stress permutations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 119(1), 274–301.
Berthod, C., Famin, V., Bascou, J., Michon, L., Ildefonse, B., & Monié, P. (2016). Evidence of sheared sills related to flank destabilization in a basaltic volcano. Tectonophysics, 674, 195–209. http://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2016.02.017
Cayol, V., Catry, T., Michon, L., Chaput, M., Famin, V., Bodart, O., … Romagnoli, C. (2014). Sheared sheet intrusions as mechanism for lateral flank displacement on basaltic volcanoes: Applications to Réunion Island volcanoes. Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth, 119(10), 7607–7635.
Froger, J. L., Famin, V., Cayol, V., Augier, A., Michon, L., & Lénat, J. F. (2015). Time-dependent displacements during and after the April 2007 eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, revealed by interferometric data. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 296, 55–68.
Famin, V., & Michon, L. (2010). Volcano destabilization by magma injections in a detachment. Geology, 38(3), 219–222.