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Convection Schmonvection / Western Animation

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  • Played straight in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987). The Technodrome regularly travels within the crust and mantle of the Earth, releasing plumes of lava as it surfaces. This highly destructive substance causes weak burns to the Turtles' feet.
  • Played straight and lampshaded in The Legend of Tarzan. The heroes and Jane's father escape from inside an erupting volcano, by surfing the rising lava on a piece of rock. The lampshade is hung by one of the characters asking: "Should this even be possible?" to which another answers "Who cares, as long as it's working?".
  • Adventure Time : Flame Princess melting into the ground would not have happened the way it did. Ground is denser than air, and therefore air would heat up much faster. Any flame that would melt a mile of earth would incinerate miles of space above ground (Meaning there wouldn't even be ashes left of Finn, Jake, or Princess Bubblegum. Convection means that fire radiates heat in all directions, obviously, so any flame hot enough to melt into the ground would not leave a straight tunnel down but a huge rounded crater or cavern.
    • Then there is Finn being around said Flame Princess, a being of living fire. He seems to be able to get close to her but only burns when he touches her. Though she does seem to be able to control this to some degree which could explain it.
    • From what that particular episode shows magic fire still needs oxygen, so it's safe to assume the other two points of the fire triangle still apply. Where would all the fuel to support such a hot flame come from?
      • Averted in the Fire Kingdom, which is stated, and ever shown, to be so hot that only can be entered if you first get a fire-proof spell on you.
      • The most egregious example is the episode Jake Suit, in which Finn and Jake touch volcano lava and only Finn's hat gets burnt. That is, until Finn drops them into it. Next time we see them, they're covered in bandages.
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  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Averted in one episode. Jackie escapes an incoming wave of lava, but gets most of his clothes burnt off by the heat. He was very close to the lava, as well, but it wasn't there long enough for the air to heat up.
  • Futurama: The entire crew are in a room full of lava and none complain about how hot it is. In fact, Fry almost jumps in without the heat obliterating him — so long as he doesn't actually touch it, he's fine.
    • Worse, the lava pit in question isn't just some one-off place they visit. It's in the basement of the Planet Express building. It goes right down to the mantle. And there isn't even a lid for it. Never mind the people, there's no way the building could survive having a volcano in the basement, even if it doesn't erupt.
    • Then there's this gem from a commercial off-screen:
    Announcer: Next Up: The Real World: The Sun.
    Participant: Ahhh! I'm burning to death!
    • The only response to that is Leela remarking on how much a big apartment would cost on the Sun.
    • In "The Butterjunk Effect", Leela and Amy, as they compete in the Butterfly Derby, they and the Opposing Sports Team fly within inches of the molten Lava Pit in their wingsuits with no apparent ill effects.
  • Transformers
    • The characters in this series and lava... Don't go there. Just don't. Some of them have actually survived a dip in the lava itself, despite it being fatal to others. Officially? Not so much as a Lampshade Hanging on this. Attempts by fans to explain this are doomed from the start.
    • Transformers Animated had Sari spraying enough boiling water in an enclosed room to kill some Space Barnacles, but wasn't scalded by the steam that filled the room or the water that would've logically splashed her. Apparently, robots can't get scalded in Animated, thus why Sari was safe.
    • Beast Wars in general seems inconsistent about lava. In the first episode of season 2, Terroraur and Scorponok died when the surge caused them to collide their hovering platforms and they fell into the lava. However, near the end of the series, Megatron falls into the lava after being betrayed by Quickstrike, but reappears later completely unharmed. Though, seeing as how Megatron had just absorbed the spark of G1 Megatron, he may have gained some extra durability, potentially justifying this trope. Then again, he hadn't morphed into his dragon form just yet by the time he hit the lava, so maybe it should have killed him.
    • In the same episode as Megatron, it seems like Tarantulas survives a dip in the lava too. It may have something to do with Transmetal bodies being more durable; although Terrorsaur and Scorponok were starting to change into Transmetals when they fell in, they were still in their original forms.
    • And in the season 1 episode, "Double Dinobot" a clone of Dinobot kicks a tree that Rattrap is on into a lava filled trench. The tree gets wedged high above the lava but bursts into flames from the heat, as it rightfully should. However, Rattap floats around on a rock inches above the lava and suffers no ill effect from doing so.
    • Conversely, the 2007 movie gets convection mostly right, but was criticized by fans who did not fully understand that while space is infinitely cold, the lack of convection in space means that a body in space will cool very, very slowly — much more slowly than a superheated body falling into the Arctic Ocean. In fact, the TF Wiki links to our Space Is Cold page to explain why that's not an error. See, this stuff is educational! (Not only does "infinitely cold" not exist (there is a lowest possible temperature), but space is several degrees warmer than absolute zero. Specifically, it's about 3 Kelvin, or -270 degrees Celsius (0 Kelvin is absolute zero). Furthermore, unless there is evaporation going on, a body in space that is in view of the Sun tends to heat up unless it's already hotter than the Sun's surface, 6000K. If it is not in view of the sun, it tends to cool down to that 3K I mentioned, but it happens very slowly because neither conduction nor convection are possible, only radiation, and things at "normal" temperatures tend to radiate very very slowly.)
  • In the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode where Augustus is introduced, Gruffi and Tummi find him living in an active volcano, where he has spent years carving it into the shape of a dragon, waiting for the day it erupts in a spectacle where it breathes fire. There's even a scene in the cartoon where Tummi is mere feet from the boiling lava, worried that this might happen sooner than Augustus thinks. (He's wrong, it happens even sooner.)
  • In the second episode of the early Fleischer Superman animated series, a villain with his own foundry tries to make Lois Lane talk by slowly lowering her into a giant vat of molten iron. She shows no signs of distress, even when she falls and Superman has to grab her mere inches above the surface of the vat. (For reference, iron has a melting point of 1538 °C/2800 °F)
    • Likewise, in "Volcano" Lois is right next to molten lava and is completely unaffected, even doing a hand-over-hand climb over a field of lava without being even singed.
    • This is amended in later episodes, where Lois Lane is imperiled by fire, and passes out or is burned outright by the heat.
  • In one episode of Totally Spies!, the girls can't feel the heat coming from lava... But it is really marinara sauce, as they are being tested. But later on the actual lava comes on, and the team makes a hot air balloon out of a parachute.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series involves Bruce Wayne battling a ninja rival on an erupting volcano. The climax of the fight comes when they are separated on the rocks and Wayne throws a rope for the ninja to catch, thinking that if he jumps while he pulls he could make it. The ninja kicks the rope away, but not before giving a look that both says "I don't want your help" and almost looks as though he is thinking "Please, don't be so stupid."
  • The trope is treated as a game of ping pong in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In "The Awakening," Aang stands on top of solid but still-glowing lava rock in bare feet without getting burned. Curiously there is a subversion in the same scene, as his wooden glider caught on fire by just being next to a lava stream that Aang had just stepped by. In a later episode, Aang, Sokka, and Toph are running through tunnels within a dormant volcano with no problem running over the rock crust that has formed over a river of magma or soaring over an underground lake of the stuff. Strangely enough, in "The Avatar and the Firelord," a major character actually dies from the toxic gases released by an erupting volcano.
    • This trope is used far more frequently in the series in any and all instances of Firebending, for as long as the Firebender and their opponents do not actually touch the plumes of flame shooting out of their hands and feet, they're fine (though their clothing has been singed a time or two). Rule of Cool definitely applies here and most places with Elemental Powers though, as they are shooting plumes of flame out of their hands and feet.
    • And of course, the most dramatic example of all: Zuko's huge-ass scar, obtained by his father superheating his hand and keeping it on Zuko's face for a few very long seconds.
    • In "Sozin's Comet", the Gaang is riding in a stolen airship while the other ships burn everything below. Toph, the blind girl, feels the heat radiating from below and comments: "That's a lot of fire, isn't it?". Later, Aang hides in a sphere of rock while the Big Bad pummels the sphere with fireblasts. A cut to Aang shows him visibly sweating inside.
    • "The Boiling Rock" is just straight up schizophrenic: The Boiling Rock is a prison on an island in the middle of a boiling lake in the crater of a volcano. Though not as bad as a lava pit, it should be like a constant sauna in there since it was hot enough that a hot air balloon couldn't keep in the air, yet it doesn't seem to be a real problem. However there is conduction, as regular ships can't get across the lake without getting so hot as to burn the travels: they tried an insulated boat, and the prison uses a gondola on a high rope.
  • The Legend of Korra, in addition to using the same examples (Firebenders casually throw around fire and lightning with little to no protection and no one ever gets so much as singed), actually continues the trend set by its predecessor, in the form of LAVABENDING... In the Avatarverse, lava is created by superheating rock. Simple enough, except that certain individuals have such mastery over it that they can do this themselves with their mind alone. Next is the applications of lavabending: one of the Red Lotus, Ghazan, is imprisoned on a wooden prison in the middle of the ocean, so no earthbending for him for almost 13 years. He gets a few pebbles thrown into his cage, and creates a lava shuriken. Said shuriken is able to slice through wood like a lightsaber yet doesn't burn it, and doesn't seem to burn anyone it hits or is near.
    • In later episodes, Ghazan forms a lava moat around an island when the Red Lotus are under attack; destroys an entire mountain (air temple included) and almost roasts the Krew alive. If the Boiling Rock represents schizophrenia, lavabending must be bipolar.
    • The Red Lotus prisons themselves. One is in the middle of a dormant volcano, and houses a master (and psychotic) waterbender, Ming Hua. Played straight as they have to import water in barrels and completely restrain her in order to hydrate her due to the heat of the volcano. On the flipside of this is the prison created for P'Li, a combustionbender. Her prison is located in the North Pole, hundreds of feet in the ice. It is so cold that she cannot generate the energy necessary to light a finger on fire, much less launch an attack. Get hit by a fire blast once she escapes though, and she is back in business.
  • Darkwing Duck, his daughter, and her best friend all end up in a volcano in one episode of his series. Gosalyn and Honker get within what seems to be a few FEET of the bubbling lava while stretching a balloon for a slingshot. Handwaved only slightly later on when Darkwing carries them across a lava stream; he cites an ability he picked up from somewhere to do that without burning his feet off. And then soaks them in the water.
  • Subverted in the first episode of Ewoks. In that story, Morag has sparked a massive forest fire and dammed the river to hamper the Ewoks' attempt to fight it. Wicket suggest using Master Logray's big supply of fire foam and airdrop bags of it from their gliders. Chief Cherpa nixes that idea since the wild winds caused by the massive fire's convection currents would cause the gliders to crash into the flames. However, that complication is solved by the small winged whisties who volunteer to guide the gliders safely around the currents while still getting to the best areas to bomb.
  • Aloha, Scooby-Doo! features a chase through the bad guy's lair, which is inside a volcano. They run all around and across the lava and, as as always, are fine so long as they don't actually touch it.
  • An episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 has the Koopalings trap the Mario Bros. in a cave that they then proceed to fill with lava. But Mario manages to chisel a way out through the wall so he and Luigi can climb out. Right before Mario climbs out, though, this trope is taken to the extreme by having the lava actually seem to already be up to Mario's waist before he jumps out.
    • For that matter, in the first Super Mario cartoon series, one episode had them riding a lava boat. A lava boat! No explanations on how, it's just an ordinary boat that could somehow survive lava.
    • In the later Super Mario World series, in the "Mama Luigi" episode, Luigi nearly lands in "boiling lava" after he falls for hours. Luckily he happens to land on a skull raft, and despite the long fall is uninjured, and unaffected by the heat, which should already have vaporized the raft. Later on we see dinosaurs actually swimming in lava. This does follow the in-game physics though.
    • Another Super Mario World example is the end of the episode, A Little Learning, where Mario floods Bowser's bedroom with lava, using the pipes from Hip and Hop's volcano project. Bowser is standing atop of his bed, screaming for Hip and Hop to help him, but his bed neither collapses nor combusts.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", when they go to Japan and the family falls in the Lava on a game show. Turns out it was simply Orangeade, yet Homer continues to scream: "It burns!"
      Wink: "It is Orangina, our sponsor!"
      • Homer continues to writhe in agony because, as game show host Wink Wink mentions afterward, their Orangina is "loaded with wasabi" (and orange concentrate in your eyes would burn anyway).
    • The trope image comes from "Bart vs. Australia". In this instance, the pay phone has already rung, suggesting it works fine, while the person responding isn't burned until he falls into the lava from not letting go of the phone.
  • Storm Hawks a volcano goes off, and our heroes try to escape the lava flow, but their bikes are melted. Fortunately, they find a safe spot just a few feet up off of the lava. No one seems to be suffering from the heat, although one of them does use it to cook hot dogs.
    • In another episode (A Colonel of Truth) a tiny flying fox type creature falls into a lava flow, only to safely land on a floating rock.
  • In the episode "Exchange" of Kim Possible, not only are Ron and Yori trapped in a metal cage and lowered into a river of lava, the lava actually spills into the cage and sets Ron's shoe on fire by contact. Ron and Yori then survive by hanging onto the tops of the cage's bar while the entire lower half of the cage melts away until they are saved. Apparently metal has to be immersed in lava to actually heat up. This also leads to the idea that heat doesn't conduct through metal. To get a steel bar hot enough to melt one end would make the other end way too hot to hold. (This is more an example of Conduction Schmonduction.)
  • Gargoyles — in a fight with Oberon, Goliath, Angela, and Gabriel are able to fly just a couple of metres above the lava in an active volcanic crater with no ill effects.
    • Though the Gargoyles themselves are often shown to be made of much tougher stuff than most other living creatures, and they do turn to stone during the day. Oberon is a god, and Avalon is prevented from harming him.
  • Partially averted in an episode of Max Steel: Max and Kat are sent in to a volcano to collect a crystal, and are given heat-resistant kevlar suits, along with helmets and (possibly) an air supply. They're warned that they'd only have a couple of minutes, and do avoid the lava if possible...yet there's a layer of solid rock where they land, and handily-placed rocks in the lava leading to where the crystal is.
  • The Musical Episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold has heroes and villains forced to dance toward a launching rocket's exhaust to distract Batman; they would be getting toasted pretty well before they reached the actual flames.
  • Played dead straight in The Spectacular Spider-Man. Not only does a whole warehouse full of lava seem to do no harm to Spidey, Green Goblin, or Tombstone, but Hammerhead is precariously dangled inches from a vat of the stuff without even the soles of his shoes melting.
  • Hotwheels World Race. Scorchers cars are capable of crossing the lava. The protection is only at frontside (called lava plow) and wheels
  • There was an episode of The Magic School Bus where the class went inside a volcano to learn how islands are made. They were underneath the lava.
    • That's justified by the fact that the Bus has endured all manner of extreme conditions with no ill effect so long as the engine is turned on. It is the Magic School Bus after all.
  • Exactly how much the trope applies on Jimmy Two-Shoes largely depends on whatever's needed for the joke. Sometimes it will burn up people floating on it, other times the characters can swim in it.
  • The season finale of World Tour. Oh so very much.
  • Justified by Captain Planet, who can not only swim through molten lava and be completely unharmed, but can also use it to heal himself. As dangerous as they are to humans, lava flows and volcanoes are still part of the Earth's natural ecosystem, which Captain Planet is a Physical Avatar of.
  • In an episode of American Dragon: Jake Long, Jake, in order to get ahead in a race against other dragons, utilized his experiences as a boarder and used a piece of rock to ride a lava flow, and he wasn't hurt a bit—as long as he didn't touch the lava. (Perhaps justified or handwaved due to him being a dragon (and in dragon form at the time), particularly one whose inherent element was fire, but still.
  • Notably averted in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. A giant fire meteor threatens to strike Townsville. Even for most of the episode, the citizens suffer from a severe heat wave. Bubbles and Buttercup fly towards the incoming meteor to destroy it, but the intense heat simply forces them to flee (yes, not even they can stand the heat) and to search for Blossom, whose current Heroic BSoD forbids her from using her newly-gained ice breath.
  • In Cow and Chicken Red accidentally falls into a river of lava. Then notices it's not as hot as he had thought (he's the Devil, though).
  • Parodied in the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Mock 5"note , in which no one seems to really care about the raging river of lava following a group of soapbox racers. At the very end of the race when everything is said and done, Monkey scoops some of the lava in his hand and EATS IT. What makes this even worse is that he doesn't react (and it isn't an appropriate reaction) until Dexter speaks up about it. His superpowers might have something to do with it, as he HAS been seen touching lava (and lulling a monster made of it to sleep).
    • Played straight in one of the "Monkey" shorts one the other hand, where lava bubbling out of the ground starts pouring over an unlucky bystander's feet with no apparent reaction. (Aside from a disturbed look on said bystander's face.)
  • Most egregious example: Star Wars: The Clone Wars did an episode in which a planet is apparently half lava. We don't know what took half the planet's crust off. What we do know is that you can walk within inches of pools of lava... in a cavern that would logically be like an oven with that much lava and nowhere for the heat to go. However, anything thrown into lava catches fire before it hits, a nice bit of realism... if the aforementioned oven-cave hadn't been mere seconds earlier. If the characters didn't have to cross the lava on a rope that's only a few feet above the surface and do so without harm mere seconds later. Perhaps it's production values, but in none of the episode's more ridiculous examples of this trope did anyone even sweat. Going back and forth on it like that made it crazier than anything you've ever seen play the trope straight from beginning to end.
    • Averted in another episode; things are seen catching on fire before making contact with lava.
    • This extends to the Jedi lightsabers as well. Quite often the Jedi will use their lightsabers to create passages via cutting holes through walls, floors and ceilings, leaving a smoldering hot ring of molten material around the cut. Often characters will hop right through these holes, sometimes even touching the edges with no ill effects.
  • Displayed throughout The Secret Saturdays episode "Twelve Hundred Degrees Fahrenheit". Taken to a ridiculous extent when both Argost and Drew swim through the volcano (wearing fireproof lizard-skin and a heatproof suit, respectively, but still!). Particularly egregious in Argost's case, as the lava should have seeped in through the openings in the skin (eyes, mouth).
  • The Land Before Time animated series episode "The Canyon of Shiny Stones" is all about this trope (although they do, at least, remember that volcanoes produce choking smoke).
  • Phineas and Ferb roast weiners on a passing lava flow in "Candace Loses Her Head".
  • In the Young Justice episode "Denial", the team falls into a pit, at the bottom of which is a pool of lava. A trap door closes over the lava in time to catch them (though not before taking out Superboy's boots), and while Aqualad notes that the floor should be burning hot and Kid Flash warns him that if he pulls open the trap door, the backdraft from the lava will roast them alive, neither are true. This is all because they're in Dr. Fate's tower, and reality warped itself to their benefit after they convinced the tower they had legitimate reasons for breaking and entering.
    • Played straight in that they should have been roasted alive when they were dropped into the chimney. Except Superboy. But then, it is Doctor Fate's house.
    • Played straight in "Humanity" where the entire team is standing next to the supervolcano that Red Volcano is attempting to set off, and show no ill-effects from the heat.
  • Unexpected aversion in Stroker and Hoop, in one episode, where Stroker (and son) are forced to toss some items into a fiercely burning car...and do it standing several feet away, flinching and shielding their faces from the heat.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the "Read it and Weep" episode, this trope is played straight by Daring Do in her book, in which she removes the statue from its resting place á la Raiders of the Lost Ark, triggering a trap that causes the floor to melt away and be replaced entirely by a rising lava flow. Aside from visibly sweating, Daring shows no ill effects from being in such close proximity to the lava.
    • "Dragon Quest" has this in spades. Spike jumps into a Lava Pit, submerges and then spits out some lava from his mouth as if it were a swimming pool, which, for the teenage dragons that he is hanging out with, is. It's well established by now that Equestrian Dragons are as good as totally immune to harmful heat.
  • Dino-Riders has one episode featuring a Plesiosaurus swimming in lava. Made worse by the fact that this series was otherwise depicting dinosaurs fairly accurate (by the 80's state of research), and not as dragons.
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Magnificent Steven", they find lava deep beneath a certain Washington landmark and play it straight by featuring a bridge a couple feet above it while mocking it all the while:
    Steve: I can't believe there's lava under Washington, D.C.!
    Stan: Where do you think all the hot air comes from?
  • The Grand Finale of Rocket Power has the kids jumping over lava.
    • This trope is also somewhat lampshaded when Tito mentions that when he grew up in Hawaii, he lost a hopscotch competition to his cousin because he stepped on a piece of lava.
  • The Earth's surface in Dragon Flyz is a Lethal Lava Land, yet it still has thriving trees that never catch on fire.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In "Off With His Hat", the anthropologist falls into an active volcano, but is fine because she lands on a floating chunk of rock. She then then gets erupted out of the volcano.
  • Inhumanoids takes place mostly Beneath the Earth, with a Big Bad that apparently has lava for bodily fluids. Hand Waved due to the Power Armor worn by the heroes, whether they are wearing their helmets or not.
  • The first episode of Sym-Bionic Titan has the trio fighting a fire monster, in which they do respond to its heat in battle. They end up leading it to the water/lake to extinguish it.
  • In the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "The Parent Trap", this trope gets zig-zagged all over the place. Power Man gets tossed into a volcano and the only danger he faces is the possibility of drowning in the lava. While in and of itself this is justified since Power Man is nigh invulnerable, there's no similar justification for his costume being unharmed. Later, when Spidey shoots some webbing down to pull Power Man up, the heat from the lava incinerates the webbing before it reaches him. As well it should. But when he uses Applied Phlebotinum to induce a "mini-eruption" and launch Power Man to safety, Spidey is standing what should be perilously close to the magma himself without taking any damage.
  • The Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Hot Stretch". Aliens use a stolen fusion device to unleash lava on the surface. The lava flows in rivers down city streets without setting anything on fire and people stand next to it with no harm (although the heroes do sweat a lot, which is more than seen in many shows).
  • Kid vs. Kat: In "Mind Games", Coop gets suspended a few inches above the molten magma in an active volcano with no ill effects.
  • In Trollz, this is zig-zagged. Amethyst is close to the center of an active volcano and comes out fine... though Ruby's hair doesn't, and is frizzed and burnt from being near it.
  • Zig-Zagged in the SWAT Kats episode "Volcanus Erupts". Razor needs a heat suit to get close enough to the titular fire demon to plant a bomb in his weak spot. However, when Volcanus grabs Commander Feral's helicopter, the aircraft doesn't melt, and Feral is able to climb out through the smashed windshield and grab a lifeline the SWAT Kats drop him, with no ill effects from the heat that must be pouring off of the hand holding his copter.
  • Fangbone!: In "The Shadow of Bill", Fangbone, Bill and Cid escape from the dire razorworm by rafting along a lava flow.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Wisp of Wickedness", a man possessed by the wisp attempts to dump molten iron on Superman and two civilians. Superman protects the civilians by covering them with his cape so they are no splattered with the iron. However, the heat from the molten iron should have been enough to kill them.
  • Wakfu: The city of Brâkmar is built on volcanic ground, with lava rivers flowing below several parts of the town, which should make the whole city too hot to be liveable. The Gobbowl Stadium itself is above a lava lake.