Tube Fireworks

Tonight I turned on my amplifier, starting hearing popping and hissing from one speaker, and turned around to find one tube sparkling like fireworks! Obviously the tube is bad and I won't use the amp again until I can replace the tube, but does anyone know why such a thing would happen? Thanks!
I am only guessing because I used to own tube amps eons ago..I would gather the gas from that particule tube escaped and the forth started early.
Unless you have junk tubes to test it with, I'd get the amp checked out first for a bad cap or ???
The tube may have suffered arc over and you saw the results of that;but I also think Elevick's suggestion is one to also consider.
Tubes have a cathode that emits elections. It is heated so it will emit electrons more efficiently, and finally it is also treated with a sort of paint that improves its efficiency even more.

It is this coating where you have most of the arcing problems.
If the tube has high voltage applied to it during warmup,
If the tube took a hard ride in shipment
If the coating was not properly applied (**very** common these days)
If the coating has aged due to use

Then the coating can fall off of the cathode in chunks large enough to cause arcing in the tube. Sometimes the tube is permanently damaged, sometimes the arc can be cleared and the tube might give normal service for a good while longer. Usually knocking on the top of the tube with no B+ on it is the way to try to clear it. My rule of thumb is that if the tube continues to misbehave after that then I replace it.
Had same thing happen,it was over biased tube.
Thanks for the replies. I was some pretty serious fireworks throughout the tube. I did try another tube which is working fine, so it does appear to just be a bad tube. Had never seen anything like it before though, so I thought it best to ask the experts!