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Pyroclastic Flow

from Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

Outstanding Photographs of Storms

As a geologist I'd love to see a pyroclastic flow up close. As a scared woman, I would not. I admire the people who get up close to the things to study and film them - quite a few are no longer with us.

from Plog

Pictures of the Week: October 29, 2010

2010.10.29 - Mount Merapi releases a pyroclastic flow during eruption as seen from Deles, Central Java, Indonesia. There have been no new reports of injuries or damage. (AP Photo)


This area in New Mexico owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by pyroclastic flow from a volcanic explosion. Over time weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks, and vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.


Mt. Pinatubo Eruption. Photo by Albert Garcia taken on June 15, 1991 // A volcano's deadly pyroclastic flow - the same thing that buried Pompeii. You can't outrun it: it travels at 700 km/h (450 mph) and you can't weather it in anything but highly specialized shelters: it's over 1,000 °C (1,830 °F). Once you see that in your rear view mirror, you're either already out of reach or you're not.


Pyroclastic flow will destroy nearly everything in its path. With rock fragments ranging in size from ash to boulders traveling across the ground at speeds greater than 80 km per hour, pyroclastic flows knock down, shatter, bury or carry away nearly all objects and structures in their way. The extreme temperatures of rocks and gas inside pyroclastic flows, between 200°C and 700°C, can cause combustible material to burn, especially petroleum products, wood, vegetation, and houses. -- Samuel…


Close Encounter by Adam Stinton. The rolling, boiling clouds of ash from a pyroclastic flow in the Belham Valley dwarf the Waterworks Estate house. This pyroclastic flow, which travelled 6 km down the valley in 11 minutes, was generated by an explosion that sent an ash plume 6 km into the atmosphere.


Deadly Pyroclastic Flow at Paluweh Volcano: A fresh scar on the north side of this Indonesian volcanic island reveals the flow of hot ash and rock.


Must go faster! Volcanic pyroclastic flow, a fast-moving current of superheated gas (which can reach temperatures of about 1,000 °C (1,830 °F)) and rock (collectively known as tephra), which reaches speeds moving away from a volcano of up to 700 km/h (450 mph).