Series: Volcanic Eruption Styles

Categories in this traditional classification are based on the eruption styles of particular volcanoes. These magmatic eruption styles are listed in the order of increasing explosivity.

  • Article 1: Hawaiian Eruptions

    Lava curtain eruption

    Fire-fountains and effusive outpourings of very fluid basaltic lavas are the hallmarks of Hawaiian style eruptions. Read more

  • Article 2: Strombolian Eruptions

    volcanic eruption with glowing lava seen at night

    Stombolian eruptions look like volcanic firework displays. Explosions eject glowing volcanic bombs into the air that then fall around the crater. Read more

  • Article 3: Vulcanian Eruptions

    volcanic ash eruption

    Vulcanian eruptions are intermittent and characterized by explosive bursts that create dark eruption columns that rise to moderate heights. Read more

  • Article 4: Sub-Plinian Eruptions

    volcanic ash eruption

    Sub-Plinian eruptions create high eruption columns that are unsteady. Pyroclastic flows and lahars also form during these eruptions from composite volcanoes. Read more

  • Article 5: Plinian Eruptions

    black and white photo May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption

    Plinian eruptions are more intense than Sub-Plinean eruptions. Eruption columns may extend into the stratosphere and spread out in an umbrella shape and produce widespread ash deposits. Pyroclastic flows and lahars also occur during these eruptions. Read more

  • Article 6: Ultra-Plinian Eruptions

    View overlooking extensive flat ground covered with trees and meadows

    These caldera-forming eruptions are the largest of all volcanic eruptions. These eruptions have higher eruption rates that form higher eruption columns and produce widespread pyroclastic flows. Read more