Science Questions

What are pyroclastic flows?

Sun, 4th Jul 2010

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Question

Nsbuk001, Twitter asked:

What exactly are pyroclastic flows and what makes them so deadly?

Answer

We posed this question to Hazel Rymer from the Open University...

Hazel -  Pyroclastic means literally broken by fire.  It means broken up and exploded rocks.  So when a volcano explodes, it forms a pyroclastic flow and whatís so nasty about it is that they are often very, very hot, and they are clouds of very hot ash that go bellowing very, very rapidly along the ground, engulfing everything in their path. If you've ever been to Pompeii or Herculaneum, and seen the devastation, thatís why they're so dangerous.

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http://www.metacafe.com/watch/119241/big_in_japan/ 

I cannot find one on google video search that has good reference points to show the immense speed over the ground, but the reaction of the man in white and the fire engine crew is pretty demonstrative.

imatfaal, Wed, 7th Jul 2010

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