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I recently watched the movie Volcano for the first time.

The movie is about a natural
disaster occurring in Los Angeles where the main character is a man who has the main authority
in the event of a natural disaster. He teams up with a Geologist who helps him save the city when
a volcanic eruption happens.
I think that this movie was a good depiction of what would really happen in the event of a
volcanic eruption. One scene in the movie had Anne Heche’s character talked about plate
tectonics and how they could possibly open a fissure in which magma can rise up through.

Figure 1A fissure eruption by volcanoes.usgs.gov
From what I researched online about fissures, the movie is pretty accurate as to the events that
would occur. “Fissure eruptions are quiescent, and the height of the airborne eruptive material is
small, often only a few tens of meters. The basaltic fragments in the curtain of the fire thus
remain largely liquid when they hit the ground” (How Volcanoes Work, n.d.). An example of
this was shown in several scenes in the movie.
The volcano in the movie is what happened in the town located in the center of the Trans-
Mexican Volcanic Belt. The residents of Paricutin had thought they had been hearing thunder,
which was actually the movement of magma inside earth. When the eruption occurred there was
loud noise and ejections of fireballs ranging from small to large shooting in the air. This is what
was shown in scenes in numerous scenes in the movie Volcano.

Figure 2National Geographic
The effects of lava flow after eruption is shown in the movie in the scenes where it is
vocalized and shown that lava will destroy everything in its path. “Everything in the path of an
advancing lava flow will be knocked over, surrounded, or buried by lava, or ignited by the
extreme hot temperature of lava” (Volcano Hazards, n.d.). For the most part lava moves slow
enough for people to be able to get out of the way.
Here is a short video of a volcanic eruption caught on tape.
http://youtu.be/OowFvnlWI90
There was also a focus on lack of education and awareness in what to do in the event of a
natural disaster. That there was no plan of action, no evacuation plan, no organization, and chaos
when the disaster occurs. I feel that this and other disaster movies show that in some way and
somehow, people need to be educated in every sort of natural disaster that can occur. The
importance of this type of education needs to be stressed even though most people think that they
are invincible and that what they see on TV or movies could never happen to them. “People
living in earthquake zones need to know what they should do in the event of a quake. Training
people may involve holding earthquake drills and educating people via TV or radio” (Managing
Tectonic Hazards, n.d.).
I enjoyed this movie because even though it seemed silly in a way that something like
that would actually happen, there are things happening deep inside the earth everywhere. Even
though some places have been dormant for a very long period, it is very hard to really predict or
know what can actually happen. In the end, anything can happen and our best defense is to be
educated and prepared.













Works Cited
How Volcanoes Work. (n.d.). Retrieved from Geology:
http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/Fissure.html
Managing Tectonic Hazards. (n.d.). Retrieved from BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/natural_hazards/managing_hazards
_rev2.shtml
Volcano Hazards. (n.d.). Retrieved from USGS: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/lava/