Photo Information

Vegetation burned by pyroclastic flow along stream channel, Soufriere 
          Hills volcano in Monsterrat
Photograph by R.P. Hoblitt on July 12, 1997.
A small but highly fluidized pyroclastic flow traveled down the narrow Belham stream channel as far as 5 to 6 km from a lava dome growing at the summit of Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat. The basal part of the pyroclastic flow was confined to the channel bottom, but the overriding hot ash cloud burned and killed vegetation along the channel. The pyroclastic flow was triggered by a partial collapse of the dome. With initial temperatures higher than 900°C, the rock debris and gas carried by a pyroclastic flow or surge easily remain hot enough to burn or singe combustible material even when they travel more than 20 km from a vent.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California, USA
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Last modification: 16 December 1999 (SRB)