The 12-13 July 2003 dome collapse at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, was the largest event of its kind during the eruption thus far (1995-2005), involving the removal of 210 million m3 of the lava dome complex over 18 h. Less than 2% of the total volume of material involved in the dome collapse was deposited on land. A pyroclastic density current deposit alongshore and inland from the Tar River Fan was generated from a single blast originating at the shoreline. The blast was caused by the interaction of pyroclastic flows with seawater. We propose that at the peak of the lava dome collapse, a sharp increase in the volume flux of pyroclastic flows caused substantial displacement of seawater from the shoreline, followed by inrush of seawater when the flux decreased a few minutes later. The tsunami allowed penetration of seawater into the main body of the pyroclastic flow at the shoreline, which led to explosive fragmentation of pyroclastic blocks. Tephra fall deposits accumulated at a high rate on Montserrat, causing extensive damage to vegetation and buildings. Their stratigraphy recorded fallout from high co-pyroclastic flow clouds, from a vulcanian explosion cloud at the peak in collapse rate (caused by the fragmentation of degassed lava dome) and from four vulcanian explosion clouds after the dome collapse (caused by fragmentation of bubbly magma in the conduit). The total tephra fall volume is estimated at 10-20 million m3.