Volcano (feat. Joe Ruppel) : Episode 115

Stream the movie:
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What: A Volcano opens up in LA. Everyone is surprised (rightly!).
Directed by: Mick Jackson
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, Gaby Hoffmann, don Cheadle, Keith David

Featuring guest co-host
Joe Ruppel PhotoJoe Ruppel, history nerd and our co-bff

Recommended and Related Media

Check out this human being melting directly and immediately into mere inches of lava
From the movie!

Experiencing a volcanic shockwave
Holy smokin’ toledos!

Show Notes

What is a volcano?

No, seriously, what is a volcano? A lot of film critics at the time whiffed on this one and at least one or two of us were in the wrong too. Volcano:

A vent or fissure on the surface of a planet (usually in a mountainous form) with a magma chamber attached to the mantle of a planet or moon, periodically erupting forth lava and volcanic gases onto the surface.


La Brea tar pits

Predator/prey capture ratios. Biological activity causing the bubbling and subsequent discovery of a bunch of different bacterai that live in there. Larger things we find fossilized there:

  • Sabretooth tigers
  • Mammoths
  • Giant feline
  • looooooooads more
giant jaguar skull

giant feline skull ?

Fault lines

The different fault types and which of them tend to manifest volcanoes. Spoiler alert: LA has a transfer fault which is the kind that is really really really unlikely to sprout a volcano under normal conditions.

transfer fault

not the kind of fault where one generally finds volcanoes -via Wikipedia

Volcano detection

Major monitoring methods looking out for pending eruptions:

  • Seisimic activity
  • Gas!
  • Groundswell – actual deformation of the landscape from the pressure
The Ring of Fire

The “Ring of Fire” -via Wikipedia


Pyroclastic flow vs lava. The eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD. Casting the cavities that surrounded trapped bodies.

Cast of a pompeii body

A cast of the cavity left by an unfortunate ancient Pompeiian via Wikipedia

Volcanic dangers

Volcanic ash, which is often basically just teeny tiny glass for you to breathe in. Lava temperatures: between holy shit hot and omg holy shit hot.  Lava weather systems. Gasses!

Lava fountains!

Lava fountains! -via Wikipedia


Dams! Backwards or otherwise. The Decade List.

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