plinian eruptions involve the explosive ejection of large volumes of viscous lava and the continual ejection of great quantities of gas, pumice, and ash which can form huge clouds whose fallout can effect areas hundreds of miles downwind. pyroclastic flows and caldera collapse are commonly associated with this type of eruption. the eruptions of Mount St. Helens and Mount Pinatubo are examples of large plinian eruptions.

plinian eruptions are named after Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist who died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. see also: vesuvian eruption.