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Earth From Above - France, Yann Arthus-Bertrand Aerial Photography :France From Above: Detail of the Gallo-Roman ruins at Pontchartrain, Yvelines Department, France Wallpaper
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- Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island, France
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- France From Above: Detail of the Gallo-Roman ruins at Pontchartrain, Yvelines Department, France , Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise, Reunion Island, France (21°14’S, 55°43’E).
At two million years old, the Indian Ocean island of Reunion is a relative youngster compared to its ten-million-year-old neighbor, Mauritius. It owes its existence to the basaltic lavas that built up on the sea floor, culminating in two major volcanoes - Piton des Neiges, now 3,069 meters (10,066 feet), and Piton de la Fournaise at 2,632 meters (8,633 feet). Piton de la Fournaise is the only active volcano on the island. It entered history when French naturalists scaled its sides in the eighteenth century. On July 17, 1791, an explosive phase modified the volcano’s shape, creating the Dolmieu Crater, a vast hole 200 meters (650 feet) in diameter, 40 meters (130 feet) deep, and still active. On Monday, March 18, 1986, the volcanological observatory recorded volcanic tremors and alerted the population of Saint-Philippe. The next day, while the entire island was celebrating La Reunion’s fortieth anniversary as a French department, the volcano joined in the festivities. Spreading out from its natural frontiers amid the fortunately empty houses, it added 25 hectares (60 acres) to the island, demonstrating that the island’s formation is not yet complete.
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