Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Burning question about ''Volcano''

We find out if lava can move as quickly as the characters in the blockbuster film claim

Posted on

Q In Volcano, a river of lava moving along an underground tunnel threatens L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The film’s characters say the molten ooze will take 30 minutes to travel what in reality is 4.4 miles. Can lava really move that quickly?

A ”It’s not completely out of the question,” says David Hill, a seismologist and volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif. ”But it would have to be pushed by something or be going down a steep slope.” Hill adds that most lava tends to move slower than a human walk. But, he says with a laugh, ”when you try to pin nature down and say something could never happen, nature says, well…” So, apparently, does Hollywood.