Review of bomb and ash flows: Genesis and case studies of a subset of block and ash flow deposits

Guillermo E. Alvarado, Theofilos Toulkeridis, Yasuo Miyabuchi, Wendy Pérez


Pyroclastic density currents with an abundance of cauliflower-shaped bombs are an uncommon type of deposit, called bomb and ash flow (BoAF) deposits in several papers. Although they are similar to block and ash flow (BAF) deposits (e.g., rich in juvenile blocks and breadcrusted bombs), they are often related to eruptions of mafic to intermediate magmas. In the current study, we analyze and compare historical and prehistorical BoAF-generating eruptions at Asama and Aso (Japan), Mayon (Philippines), Mt. Spurr (United States), Fuego (Guatemala), Arenal (Costa Rica), Cotopaxi and Tungurahua (Ecuador), and Láscar and Tilocálar volcanoes (Chile). Our review indicates that BoAFs show a substantial contribution of juvenile rounded material but with different rheologies and fragmentation mechanisms. This juvenile material is typically basaltic or andesitic, as it is more susceptible to form volcanic bombs with scoriaceous cauliflower textures. Thus, BoAFs could be a subset of the BAF deposits. The study and recognition of this type of deposit in volcanic sequences could be misinterpreted as a ballistic bomb deposit or even a hot bomb-rich lahar deposit, therefore, its appropriate interpretation is fundamental for volcanic hazard assessment.


Basic to intermediate PDCs; Cauliflower and breadcrust bombs; Lava pools; Strombolian; Active volcanoes; Volcanic hazards

How to cite this article Alvarado, G.; Toulkeridis, T.; Miyabuchi, Y.; Pérez, W. 2023, Review of bomb and ash flows: Genesis and case studies of a subset of block and ash flow deposits. Andean Geology 50 (3) : 346-371. [doi:]