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10 You can out run a lava flow

November 16, 2009

Dantes_peak_ver2Every volcano disaster movie from Volcano (1997) with Tommy Lee Jones to Dante’s Peak (1997) with Pierce Brosnan someone somewhere tries to out run a lava flow. Is this possible?

The answer is maybe. You will find everything you want to know about lava flows @ http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/Volcano_ver2

On January 10,1977, at Nyiragongo lava sprang from the sides of the volcano moving at speeds up to 40 miles per hour (60 km/hr). About 70 people were killed.

lava temp Measuring the temperature of lava. Photograph by R.L. Christiansen, U.S. Geological Survey, January 9, 1973.
The fastest Lava flows recorded were in Hawaiiin 1950 when Mauna Loa erupted. The lava traveled at 6 miles (10 kilometers) per hour through thick forest. But once the lava flows became established and good channels developed, the lava in the channels was flowing at up to 60 km/hour (97 kph).

Speed of average sprinter = 19 – 24 kph

Can you out run lava?

Work it out mathspigs. You are 600m ahead of the lava flow and you need to get up a hill to escape, which is 1000m away. The lava is flowing at 30 kph and you are running at 18 kph.

running man

Will you make it??????


lava 2


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3 comments

  1. This is really a very interesting entry


  2. […] In every volcano disaster movie from Volcano (1997) with Tommy Lee Jones to Dante’s Peak (1997) with Pierce Brosnan someone somewhere tries to out run a lava flow. Is this possible? (See movie cliché busted by maths here.) […]



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