Strombolian Eruptions

volcanic eruption with molten lava erupting into the night sky
Strombolian eruption wiith pyroclasts of lava. A tephra ring is being built where the lava lands.

USGS image, public domain.


Strombolian eruptions are moderately explosive eruptions of basaltic magma with moderate gas content. Strombolian eruptions consist of intermittent, discrete explosive bursts which eject pyroclasts as high as hundreds of feet into the air in firework-like incandescent rooster-tails. The discrete blasts in this eruption style are caused by vesiculation of the lava at the vent. A sustained eruptive column is not developed.

Strombolian eruptions are louder than Hawaiian eruptions, and generally are of more viscous magma.

This style is named for the Island of Stromboli which is known as the “lighthouse of the Mediterranean” for its dazzling eruptions.
The Strombolian style is common during the eruptions that build cinder cones.

  • Typical magma composition: basaltic to basaltic andesite

  • Description: Severe

  • Eruption Products: cinders (volcanic bombs and lapilli), volcanic ash

  • National Park examples: Capulin Volcano National Monument, Cinder Cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park, numerous cinder cones in El Malpais National Monument, Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Related Links

Part of a series of articles titled Volcanic Eruption Styles.

Capulin Volcano National Monument, Craters Of The Moon National Monument & Preserve, El Malpais National Monument, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Last updated: April 14, 2023