Type Oceanographic cruise
Ship Pourquoi pas ?
Ship owner Ifremer
Dates 17/04/2021 - 26/05/2021
Chief scientist(s) RINNERT Emmanuel ORCID, CATHALOT Cécile ORCID, FEUILLET Nathalie


Univ. Brest, CNRS, Ifremer, Univ. Bretagne Sud

Place Nicolas Copernic

29280 Plouzané

DOI 10.17600/18001297

Since May 2018, the island of Mayotte is subject to a massive seismic-volcanic crisis. Many earthquakes of magnitude greater than 5 occur off the coast towards the east and the island is deformed at record rates of more than 20 cm per year in connection with the emptying of a deep magmatic reservoir located in the oceanic domain, a few dozen of kilometers off the coastline. In order to document this crisis and better understand the risks, a national observation program has been set up. This program included the installation of onshore seismological and GNSS (GPS) stations, sea-bottom seismometers (OBS) as well as at-sea cruises program (MAYOBS) for deploying and recovering OBS and acquire geophysical data (bathymetry, bottom and water column imaging, sub-bottom profiles) to reveal traces of recent volcanic and seismic activity on the ocean floor. Dredging and CTD-Rosette measurements were also carried out. Within this context, we discovered that a major volcanic eruption was ongoing off the island with the birth of a new volcanic edifice of more than 820 m height, rising from the 3400-m ocean floor up to its summit located at 2580 m below the sea surface, involving considerable lava volumes (5km3, Feuillet et al., Nature, in review). Acoustic plumes of more than 2000m high, which origin is unknown for the moment, have also been observed rising from the summit of the volcano through the water column. Based on these initial results, the GeoFLAMME project aims at conducting a scientific multi-disciplinary research study documenting this major eruption by performing observations and in situ sampling (ROV, dredge, corers and CTD) and analyzes (petrology, chemistry, biochemistry) of rocks, fluids and water column combined with high resolution mapping, mosaic and 3D reconstruction of volcanic structures, tectonic features and fluid emissions (with ROV and AUV). Our main objective is to understand the context of this major volcanic crisis and, in particular the interactions between magmatism, tectonics and fluids circulation processes at the scale of the lithosphere on several spatial and temporal scales as well as the implications on the physical-chemical properties of the water column and the ecosystem evolution. This ambitious and novel project provides a combined study of solid, gas and liquid samples to unravel the entire chain of interactions between volcanic products, magmatic gases, seawater circulation and the water column, which is rarely done in the frame of a single project and in the context of a deep-sea eruption (active if still ongoing) or very recent. This project mobilizes close to 70 scientists (including forties onboard) from different disciplines (Geochemistry, Volcanology, Tectonics, Biology) and different French institutes and laboratories (IFREMER Brest, IPGP Paris, BRGM, ISTO Orleans, LMV Clermont, GEOPS, Paris South Orsay, LSCE, GET Toulouse).

Data managed by SISMER

Sampling operations




Verdurme Pauline, Gurioli Lucia, Chevrel Oryaëlle, Médard Etienne, Berthod Carole, Komorowski Jean-Christophe, Harris Andrew, Paquet Fabien, Cathalot CecileORCID, Feuillet Nathalie, Lebas Elodie, Rinnert EmmanuelORCID, Donval Jean-Pierre, Thinon Isabelle, Deplus Christine, Bachèlery Patrick (2024). Magma ascent and lava flow field emplacement during the 2018–2021 Fani Maoré deep-submarine eruption insights from lava vesicle textures. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 636, 118720 (14p.).

Schwaha Thomas, Zeppilli DanielaORCID, González-Casarrubios Alberto, Cepeda DiegoORCID (2024). The first deep-sea ctenostome bryozoan from the Indian Ocean: Aethozoon flavum sp. nov. Marine Biodiversity, 54(2), 19 (13p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :

Verdurme Pauline, Le Losq Charles, Chevrel Oryaëlle, Pannefieu Salomé, Médard Etienne, Berthod Carole, Komorowski Jean-Christophe, Bachèlery Patrick, Neuville Daniel R., Gurioli Lucia (2023). Viscosity of crystal-free silicate melts from the active submarine volcanic chain of Mayotte. Chemical Geology, 620, 121326 (14p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :

Berthod Carole, Komorowski Jean-Christophe, Gurioli Lucia, Médard Etienne, Bachèlery Patrick, Besson Pascale, Verdurme Pauline, Chevrel Oryaëlle, Di Muro Andrea, Peltier Aline, Devidal Jean-Luc, Nowak Sophie, Thinon Isabelle, Burckel Pierre, Hidalgo Samia, Deplus Christine, Loubrieu Benoit, Pierre Delphine, Bermell Sylvain, Pitel-Roudaut MathildeORCID, Réaud Yvan, Fouchard Sacha, Bickert ManonORCID, Le Friant Anne, Paquet Fabien, Feuillet Nathalie, Jorry StephanORCID, Fouquet Yves, Rinnert EmmanuelORCID, Cathalot CecileORCID, Lebas Elodie (2022). Temporal magmatic evolution of the Fani Maoré submarine eruption 50 km east of Mayotte revealed by in situ sampling and petrological monitoring. Comptes Rendus Geoscience, 354(S2), 195-223. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :

Van Der Woerd Jérôme, Famin Vincent, Humler Eric (2022). Special issue Comptes-Rendus Geoscience: The Mayotte seismo-volcanic crisis of 2018–2021 in the eastern Comoros archipelago (Mozambique channel). Comptes Rendus Geoscience, 354(S2), 1-6. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :

References of Technical Reports

Rinnert EmmanuelORCID, Ducatel Cecile (2023). Catalogue des données d’observation de mammifères marins dans le cadre de campagnes océanographiques à Mayotte. Période 2020-2022. Partage de données.

Rinnert EmmanuelORCID (2023). Catalogue d’images du fond pour le déploiement du nœud N1 de MARMOR.

Thesis using campaign data

Mastin ManonORCID (2023). Fluid and gas emissions in a submarine eruption context offshore Mayotte Island : geochemical impact on the water column. PhD Thesis, Université de Bretagne Occidentale.