This paper describes catastrophic eruptions of Mount St. Helens (1980), Bezymianny (1955-1956), and Shiveluch (1964) volcanoes. A detailed description of eruption stages and their products, as well as the quantitative characteristics of the eruptive process are given. The eruptions under study belong to the directed-blast type. This type is characterized by the catastrophic character of the climatic stage during which a directed blast, accompanied by edifice destruction, the profound ejection of juvenile pyroclastics and the formation of pyroclastic flows, occur. The climatic stage of all three eruptions has similar characteristics, such as duration, kinetic energy of blast (1017-1018 J), the initial velocity of debris ejection, morphology and size of newly-formed craters. But there are also certain differences. At Mount St. Helens the directed blast was preceeded by failure of the edifice and these events produced separable deposits, namely debris avalanche and directed blast deposits which are composed of different materials and have different volumes, thickness and distribution. At Bezymianny, failure did not precede the blast and the whole mass of debris of the old edifice was outburst only by blast. The resulting deposits, represented by the directed blast agglomerate and sand facies, have characteristics of both the debris avalanche and the blast deposit at Mount St. Helens. At Shiveluch directed-blast deposits are represented only by the directed-blast agglomerate; the directed-blast sand facies, or blast proper, seen at Mount St. Helens is absent. During the period of Plinian activity, the total volumes of juvenile material erupted at Mount St. Helens and at Besymianny were roughly comparable and exceeded the volume of juvenile material erupted at Shiveluch, However, the volume of pyroclastic-flow deposits erupted at Mount St. Helens was much less. The heat energy of all three eruptions is comparable: 1.3 ?? 1018, 3.8-4.8 ?? 1018 and 1 ?? 1017 J for Shiveluch, Bezymianny, and Mount St. Helens, respectively. ?? 1985.