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The Réunion hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which currently lies under the Island of Réunionmarker in the Indian Oceanmarker. The hotspot is believed to have been active for over 65 million years. A huge eruption of this hotspot 65 million years ago is thought to have laid down the Deccan Trapsmarker, a vast bed of basalt lava that covers part of central Indiamarker, and opened a rift which separated India from the Seychelles Plateau. The Deccan Traps eruption coincided with the extinction of the dinosaurs, and there is considerable speculation that the two events were related. As the Indian plate drifted north, the hotspot continued to punch through the plate, creating a string of volcanic islands and undersea plateaus. The Laccadive Islandsmarker, the Maldivesmarker, and the Chagos Archipelagomarker are atolls resting on former volcanoes created 60-45 million years ago that subsequently submerged below sea level. About 45 million years ago the mid-ocean rift crossed over the hotspot, and the hotspot passed under the African Plate.

The hotspot appears to have been relatively quiet from 45-10 million years ago, when activity resumed, creating the Mascarene Islandsmarker, which include Mauritiusmarker, Réunionmarker, and Rodriguesmarker. Mauritius and Rodrigues Ridge were created 8-10 million years ago, and Rodrigues and Réunion Islands in the last two million years. Piton de la Fournaisemarker, a shield volcano on the southeastern corner of Réunion, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupting last on 21 September, 2008.


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