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SPENCER SUTTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPENCER SUTTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Types of volcanic eruptions. Vulcanian eruption: a short, violent, relatively small explosion of viscous magma. The eruption results from the explosion of a plug of lava in a volcanic conduit, or from the rupture of a lava dome. Plinian eruption (largest and most violent): caused by the fragmentation of gassy magma and releases enormous amounts of energy, creating eruption columns of gas and ash. Pelean eruption: an eruption associated with explosive outbursts that generate pyroclastic flows. A dense mixture of hot volcanic fragments and gas. Strombolian eruption: distinct bursts of fluid lava with explosions occurring every few minutes at regular or irregular intervals. Hawaiian eruption: fluid lava flows from a volcano's summit and radial fissures to form large shield volcanoes that have gentle slopes. Icelandic eruption: characterized by effusions of molten basaltic lava that flow from long, parallel fissures often building lava.
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