Definition of Plinian in English:



  • Relating to or denoting a type of volcanic eruption in which a narrow stream of gas and ash is violently ejected from a vent to a height of several miles.

    • ‘Plinian eruptions are marked by columns of smoke and ash extending high into the stratosphere.’
    • ‘Plinian eruptions are those that are dominated by a plume of hot gas and ash.’
    • ‘The June 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption produced voluminous pyroclastic flows and a major Plinian umbrella cloud during its paroxysmal phase.’
    • ‘Large plinian eruptions sometimes result in the withdrawal of so much magma from below a volcano that part of it collapses to form a large depression called a caldera.’


Mid 17th century: from Italian pliniano, with reference to the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, in which Pliny the Elder died.