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Plug the Volcano

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Everyone knows that when a volcano shows up in a story, it will erupt at some point, posing a threat to everyone and everything in the immediate area. And not every volcano can be silenced by appeasing the volcano god. So how do you prevent a disaster from happening? Simple, just plug the crater with something. Usually a large boulder, but sometimes a custom-made plug.

This technique is especially popular for characters with Super Strength.

Of course, the question remains how long such a plug will hold, as pressure will most likely keep building up underneath it. Most stories tend to ignore this, but in those that don't, trying this technique is doomed to result in an Epic Fail when the plug can't contain the pressure any longer or causes the pressure to seek another way out.

Subtrope of Seal the Breach.



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  • A Ritz Bitz commercial has a group of toys plug a model volcano with a sandwich cracker. A kid takes the first one they use, forcing them to use another one.

    Comic Books 
  • All-Star Comics: In issue #58, Power Girl makes her grand debut by plugging an erupting volcano...with its own lava.
  • Asterix: In Asterix and the Chariot Race, as the heroes chase Coronavirus past the Vesuvius, the volcano starts to erupt. A large volcanic boulder falls onto the road in front of the Gauls. Annoyed by yet another hold-up, Obelix throws it back into the volcano, effectively stopping the eruption.
  • Richie Rich: In one story, Reggie Van Dough tries to impress a boy and girl with tall tales of his supposed heroics, including how he supposedly stopped an erupting volcano by dropping lemons from his jet plane, plugging the volcano. The kids however see his stories for the Blatant Lies they actually are.
  • Superman has done this many times, from the Golden Age to the modern age. His methods have included placing the top of another mountain into the volcano, freezing the magma with his ice breath, or even grabbing an asteroid from space and using that as the stopper.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hercules: During his heroics montage in the song "Zero To Hero", Hercules can be seen stopping a volcanic eruption this way.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: After Nuclear Man causes Vesuvius in Italy to erupt, Superman uses his heat vision to cut the top off a nearby mountain and plugs the crater with it.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness starts with a futuristic variation where the crew of the Enterprise are plugging an active volcano by freezing it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Floor Is Lava: In season 2 & 3, the two teams that navigate the first room the fastest/best, have to compete against each other on a second obstacle course, where they have to climb the volcano causing the lava stream and plug the crater with stones. The first team to complete this task wins.
  • Ultraman Tiga: One episode has GUTS dealing with the rampaging monster Fire Golza and an impending volcanic explosion at the same time (caused by Golza feeding on the lava, making the once-dormant volcano active again). Ultraman Tiga fixes the issue by dropping Golza into said volcano moments before it can blow, canceling the eruption.

    Video Games 
  • 400 Years: At the end of the game, it is revealed that the calamity the protagonist set out to prevent is an impending volcanic eruption, which he prevents by plugging the crater with his own body.
  • Dead or Alive Xtreme 2: The previous game ended with the volcano on Zack Island erupting and sinking the island. In this game, the island was restored by aliens, and the volcano was blocked with a giant rock to prevent it from happening again. At least until the ending, where a meteor inexplicably knocks off the rock and triggers another eruption.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns: Inverted; in the final boss level, which takes place in a volcano, Tiki Tong is defeated after Donkey Kong and/or Diddy Kong, who were launched into space, knock the moon off its orbit and onto Tiki Tong. The moon also plugs up the volcano, which causes it to erupt and launch the moon back into its orbit.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: In the High Isle expansion, Volcanic Vents are the zone's new world event. When the vent's boss is defeated, a druid closes the main vent by plugging it with a boulder. They claim that they're sealing it for good, so it's not clear whether the event respawning is just a game mechanic or a sign that plugging it failed.
  • In the secret ending of Grow Island, the aliens' flying saucer lands on the volcano's top, preventing the creature inside from erupting.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!: In Magma Cone, the local Fauns have to put up with the volcano being set off by the Earthshapers, so they enlist Spyro to go underground and make the volcano dormant... by closing the lid on it.
  • Sushi Cat: The Honeymoon: The Big Bad of the game is a sentient volcano. Sushi Cat defeats it by eating a lot of sushi and growing big enough to stop the volcano with his own body.

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary: In this story, a giant plugs an erupting volcano, and for a moment it seems to have worked, but then the pressure becomes too much for the stopper and the volcano explodes. Fortunately, it was just a training scenario in a virtual world.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: In "Misadventures in Babysitting" Mario and Luigi stop an erupting volcano by launching a boulder into the air while Mario guides it into the mouth of the volcano via his Super Leaf power. Making things slightly more unusual is that this volcano appears to have a pipe as its spout.
  • Adventure Time: In a flashback in "The Eyes", Jake plugs an active volcano with a boulder to save a couple's house.
  • American Dad!: Discussed but averted in "Bazooka Steve." When a volcano erupts in the tropical village Steve was hiding in, the locals pick their strongest members to push boulders up to the summit. Steve asks if they're doing it to plug the volcano but it turns out it is just for fun.
  • Arthur: In "Buster Gets Real", Arthur has to convince his best friend Buster, who prefers watching a reality show, by taking him to see a Bionic Bunny movie. In the movie, Bionic Bunny plugs a volcano with a comet. Buster finds it inaccurate.
  • Blaze and the Monster Machines: At the very end of the Robot Riders episode "Robots to the Rescue", Blaze and his gang use their robot abilities to plug up a near-erupting volcano to save a herd of animals from the eruption.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the episode "Big Bots", after Dexter builds a robot modeled after Dee Dee, he intends to tear it apart, when the computer warns that a volcano on an island with primitive inhabitants is about to erupt. Due to Dexter and Dee Dee constantly fighting each other, by the time the volcano is about to erupt, the two of them realize that they're out of options, and have their robots sit on the volcano to prevent it from erupting. The natives laugh it off.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: In "Super Zero", Cosmo decides to become a superhero so he doesn't seem like a failure, and one of the tasks that he has to do is deal with a volcano near Danville that is about to erupt. He does so by making a gigantic cork and plugging up the volcano. Unfortunately, the cork crumbles and the volcano erupts anyway.
  • Garfield Specials: In Garfield in Paradise, the Paradise World volcano starts erupting. The village chief's daughter decides to sacrifice herself (and her unwilling cat) to prevent the island from being destroyed, and Jon asks the chief if it's to Appease the Volcano God.
    High Rama Lama: No. Uh, plugs up the hole.
  • I Am Weasel: In one episode, the titular character along with I.R. Baboon discover a hole in the ground. While Weasel wants to study the hole, Baboon tries to fill it up. When Weasel discovers that the hole is a volcano, Baboon plugs it with a giant cork right before it erupts. Which ends up being a bad thing, as plugging the hole causes the planet to explode.
  • Inverted in the Justice League Unlimited episode, "The Doomsday Sanction." A volcano is about to erupt, but rather than plug the volcano, Superman drills holes in the mountain to allow the lava to escape, thus reducing the pressure of the magma, and delaying the eruption of the volcano.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "Sponge-Cano!", a large volcano threatens to destroy Bikini Bottom, so the townsfolk talk to a dolphin who tells them to put Squidward in as a sacrifice. When Squidward's house gets shot by water pressure, it lands in the volcano and plugs the crater, stopping the eruption. The dolphin then says he meant Squidward's house and was merely interrupted.
  • Averted in the Stargate Infinity episode "Initiation." The team comes across a volcano that is plugged, and because the pressure is building with no opening, instead of erupting, the volcano is going to explode, taking the whole island with it.
  • The World's Greatest Super Friends: The shows main theme shows Superman throwing a boulder onto an erupting volcano, sealing it off.
  • Yin Yang Yo!: In "How the Cookies Crumble," Carl the Evil Cockroach Wizard plots to destroy the town by making Tricano Mountain erupt (using a giant antacid, no less). Yin is able to stop his plan by plugging the about-to-blow volcano with a meteor. It even vents the gas through a spout on the side.

    Real Life 
  • There is a real-life phenomenon called a Volcanic Plug, which is created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano, effectively sealing it. When present, such a plug can cause an extreme build-up of high gas pressure if rising volatile-charged magma is trapped beneath it, and this can sometimes lead to an explosive eruption.
  • One of the proposed ideas of dealing with the possible eruption of the supervolcano in Yellowstone is to actually employ the opposite strategy; essentially, drilling many small holes to allow pressure to release in a more controlled way. Of course, the sheer volume of lava outflow would still result in the destruction of the park as we know it, but if successful it could at least prevent a good part of the Rockies becoming a massive crater and possibly releasing an apocalyptic amount of volcanic ash into the atmosphere.