Lava Pot Volcano YKTTW Discussion

Lava Pot Volcano
Classic image of volcanoes in fiction which does not resemble any real volcanoes.
(permanent link) added: 2012-01-08 06:06:05 sponsor: Desertopa edited by: troacctid (last reply: 2012-05-09 01:21:44)

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Volcanoes are some of the most impressive and dramatic setting devices in fiction. You've got the constant threat of eruption and the brilliant and deadly rivers of molten rock, a perfect place to set a climactic encounter. In fact, the journey up a towering mountain, which may be bursting with blasts of steam and explosive rock, to reach the top, where the ground is stripped away to reveal the glowing blood of the earth is practically an entire dramatic structure unto itself.

Except... we don't have any places like that on earth. The sorts of volcanoes which continually exude flowing lava are almost all shield volcanoes over active hotspots, such as the ones in the Hawaiian islands, which are wide and flat, and do not loom impressively in the background. And the only time volcanoes actually expose a core of molten lava at their peak is during or shortly after their eruption, after which the lava quickly cools and solidifies. In fact, successive explosive eruptions will often blast through different sections of a volcano each time. Rather than being open wounds in the earth, stratovolcanoes, the looming, explosive volcanoes that feature most heavily in fiction, are more like crusted over scabs, being essentially solid mountains on top of tectonic subduction zones.

However, since realistic volcanoes are insufficiently dramatic, and perhaps also because the most popular pictures of volcanoes are taken during eruptions, volcanoes in fiction tend to portrayed as full time seething lava pots.

Related to Appease the Volcano God, which invariably takes place in this type of volcano.



[[folder:Film - Animated]]
  • Justified with the Rite of Spring segment of Fantasia: the volcanoes seen erupting do so during a period of massive geological upheaval.

[[folder:Film - Live-Action]] [[/folder]]

  • Played With in Larry Niven's Ringworld. The surface feature known as "Fist Of God" looks like a stereotypical volcano, but inside there's no lava. Instead, it's a tear in the Ringworld itself.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]] [[/folder]]

  • Curse of Monkey Island features one of these which is worshiped by vegetarian cannibals.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has Eldin Volcano, which only erupts the third time you visit it. The rest of the time it's a Lethal Lava Land with rivers of molten rock.
  • Both the Wilderness Volcano and the Karamja Volcano in RuneScape.
  • The Volcano spell in Arcanists summons one of these underneath an enemy.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • The mountain where the Panda Lily grows in Avatar: The Last Airbender: "The Fortuneteller" is a seething pot of lava. But apparently not all the time. Aang recognizes that it's near an eruption because it's a seething pot of lava.
  • There's a deep lava pool in The Secret Saturdays. Drew and Argost go swimming in it.
  • The Simpsons subverts this in the episode where they go to Japan and have to compete on a game show in order to win airline tickets back to the US. The tickets are on a Rope Bridge over an active volcano that looks like this - which turns out to be just a prop (unknown to the family).
  • The volcano in the middle of Keepaway Island in Spliced!.
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