The vesicularity of juvenile clasts in pyroclastic deposits gives information on the relative timing of vesiculation and fragmentation, and on the role of magmatic volatiles versus external water in driving explosive eruptions. The vesicularity index and range are defined as the arithmetic mean and total spread of vesicularity values, respectively. Clast densities are measured for the 16 32 mm size fraction by water immersion techniques and converted to vesicularities using measured dense-rock equivalent densities. The techniques used are applied to four case studies involving magmas of widely varying viscosities and discharge rates: Kilauea Iki 1959 (basalt), Eifel tuff rings (basanite), Mayor Island cone-forming deposits (peralkaline rhyolite) and Taupo 1800 B.P. (calc-alkaline rhyolite). Previous theoretical studies suggested that a spectrum of clast vesicularities should be seen, depending on the magma viscosity, eruption rate, and the presence and timing of magma: water interaction. The new data are consistent with these predictions. In magmatic “dry” eruptions the vesicularity index lies uniformly in the range 70% 80% regardless of magma viscosity. For high viscosities and eruption rates the vesicularity ranges are narrow (< 25%), but broaden to between 30% and 50% as the viscosity and eruption rates are lowered and the volatiles and magma can de-couple. In phreatomagmatic “wet” eruptions, widely varying clast vesicularities reflect complex variations in the relative timing of vesiculation and water-induced fragmentation. Magma:water interaction at an early stage greatly reduces the vesicularity indices (< 40%) and broadens the ranges (as high as 80%), whereas late-stage interaction has only a minor effect on the index and broadens the range to a limited extent. Clast vesicularity represents a useful third parameter in addition to dispersal and fragmentation to characterise pyroclastic deposits.