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Plinian eruption

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Title: Plinian eruption  
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Subject: Types of volcanic eruptions, Mount Vesuvius, Nevado del Ruiz, Puyehue-Cordón Caulle, Minoan eruption
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Plinian eruption

1822 artist's impression of the eruption of Vesuvius, depicting what the AD 79 eruption may have looked like, by the English geologist George Julius Poulett Scrope
Plinian eruption: 1: ash plume, 2: magma conduit, 3: volcanic ash rain, 4: layers of lava and ash, 5: stratum, 6: magma chamber

Plinian eruptions, also known as Vesuvian eruptions, are volcanic eruptions marked by their similarity to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The eruption was described in a letter written by Pliny the Younger; it killed his uncle, Pliny the Elder.

Plinian eruptions are marked by columns of gas and volcanic ash extending high into the stratosphere, the second layer of Earth's atmosphere. The key characteristics are ejection of large amount of pumice and very powerful continuous gas blast eruptions.

Short eruptions can end in less than a day, but longer events can take several days to months. The longer eruptions begin with production of clouds of volcanic ash, sometimes with pyroclastic flows. The amount of magma erupted can be so large that the top of the volcano may collapse, resulting in a caldera. Fine ash can deposit over large areas. Plinian eruptions are often accompanied by loud noises, such as those generated by Krakatoa.

The lava is usually rhyolitic and rich in silicates. Basaltic lavas are unusual for Plinian eruptions; the most recent example is the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera on New Zealand's North Island.

Contents

  • Pliny's description 1
  • Ultra Plinian 2
  • Examples 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Pliny's description

A Stone Pine, the type of tree used by Pliny to describe the eruption.
April 21, 1990 eruption cloud from Redoubt Volcano as viewed to the west from the Kenai Peninsula

Pliny described his uncle's involvement from the first observation of the eruption:

Pliny the Elder set out to rescue the victims from their perilous position on the shore of the Bay of Naples, and launched his galleys, crossing the bay to Stabiae (near the modern town of Castellammare di Stabia). Pliny the Younger provided an account of his death, and suggested that he collapsed and died through inhaling poisonous gases emitted from the volcano. His body was found interred under the ashes of the Vesuvius with no apparent injuries on 26 August, after the plume had dispersed, confirming asphyxiation or poisoning.

Ultra Plinian

According to the Smithsonian Institution's Volcanic Explosivity Index, a VEI of 6 to 8 is classified as "Ultra Plinian." They are defined by ash plumes over 25 km (16 mi) high and a volume of erupted material 10 km3 (2 cu mi) to 1,000 km3 (200 cu mi) in size. Eruptions in the "Ultra Plinian" category include Lake Toba (approx 74000 years ago), Tambora (1815), and Krakatoa (1883).[1]

Examples

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ Enlightenment activities for improvement on disasters from Tarumae Volcano, Japan, Cities on Volcanoes 4, 23–27 January 2006

External links

  • USGS Photo Glossary Entry for Plinian Eruptions
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