Soft sediment deformation structures are common in fine-grained pyroclastic deposits and are often taken, along with other characteristics, to indicate that deposits were emplaced in a wet and cohesive state. At Ubehebe Crater (Death Valley, California, USA), deposits were emplaced by multiple explosions, both directly from pyroclastic surges and by rapid remobilization of fresh, fine-ash-rich deposits off steep slopes as local granular flows. With the exception of the soft sediment deformation structures themselves, there is no evidence of wet deposition. We conclude that deformation was a result of destabilization of fresh, fine-grained deposits with elevated pore-gas pressure and dry cohesive forces. Soft sediment deformation alone is not sufficient to determine whether parent pyroclastic surges contained liquid water and caused wet deposition of strata.

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