Illustrated Volcano Glossary

Updated: Aug 18, 2022 19:48 GMT - Refresh

vulcanian eruption

Volcanology
Eruption column from a vulcanian eruption on Krakatau
Eruption column from a vulcanian eruption on Krakatau
Night-time vulcanian eruption at Krakatau; bombs are ejected to more than 1 km height!
Night-time vulcanian eruption at Krakatau; bombs are ejected to more than 1 km height!
A vulcanian (note the different term from "volcanic") eruption is an intermediately violent type of explosive eruption, stronger than strombolian explosions but much weaker than Plinian eruptions.
During vulcanian eruptions, a relatively large solid plug is ejected when magmatic gas pressure that had build up beneath it overcomes the strength of the plug.
In the same way as Stromboli island for strombolian eruptions, the term vulcanian was coined after the neighboring island of Vulcano in the Eolian Islands, where such eruptions had been observed during the eruption in 1888.
Vulcanian eruptions can follow longer or shorter intervals of repose during which gasses in the magma beneath the plug slowly build up. The smallest vulcanian explosions typically produce eruption columns of approx 1-2 km height, while larger ones approaching sub-plinian size can erupt columns reaching several to more than 10 kilometers height.
Often, the eruptions are accompanied by violent gun-shot noises and eject a large proportion of volcanic ash, bread-crust bombs and solid blocks. The magma involved in vulcanian eruptions (as opposed to strombolian eruptions which involve fluid, basaltic magma) is usually intermediately viscous, typically andesitic or dacitic in composition. This factor facilitates the formation of a solid plug and hinders that gasses contained in the magma escape easily, and can build up considerable pressure first.

A volcano that is famous for producing many vulcanian explosions is Sakurajima in Japan.

Related keywords (2):

Plinian eruption - strombolian eruption
Try our free app!
Volcanoes & Earthquakes - new app for Android
Android | iOS version

More on VolcanoDiscovery

Why is there advertising on this site?
Support us - Help us upgrade our services!
We truly love working to bring you the latest volcano and earthquake data from around the world. Maintaining our website and our free apps does require, however, considerable time and resources.
We need financing to increase hard- and software capacity as well as support our editor team. We're aiming to achieve uninterrupted service wherever an earthquake or volcano eruption unfolds, and your donations can make it happen! Every donation will be highly appreciated. If you find the information useful and would like to support our team in integrating further features, write great content, and in upgrading our soft- and hardware, please make a donation (PayPal or Online credit card payment).

Planned features:
  • Improved multilanguage support
  • Tsunami alerts
  • Faster responsiveness
Thanks to your past donations, these features have been added recently:
  • Earthquake archive from 1900 onwards
  • Detailed quake stats
  • Additional seismic data sources
Download and Upgrade the Volcanoes & Earthquakes app to get one of the fastest seismic and volcano alerts online:
Android | IOS
Thank you!
Sources: VolcanoDiscovery / VolcanoAdventures and other sources as noted.
Use of material: Most text and images on our websites are owned by us. Re-use is generally not permitted without authorization. Contact us for licensing rights.
Volcanoes & Earthquakes
VolcanoDiscovery Home
Adventure & Study Travel
Tours to Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas: walking tours, photo tours, study tours Get our newsletter!
Company info
Contact | Legal info | Terms & conditions
Follow us
Follow us on facebook Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Twitter Visit our Youtube channel
EN | DE | EL | ES | FR | IT | RU
VolcanoDiscovery GmbH, Germany, Reg. nr.: HRB 103744, EU Tax Id: DE 310 395 322 owned and created by
Dr. Tom Pfeiffer, volcanologist, volcano photographer, tour organizer member of
IAVCEI
Volcanological Society
Ecotourism Greece
Insured by R+V
VolcanoDiscovery © 2004- All Rights Reserved | Privacy - cookie settings