Lava Adds Awesome, but it doesn't usually just show up in your backyard. Instead, writers need to take you somewhere a little more exotic to see it, like the inside of a cavern. While this makes sense, as that can lead to magma, sometimes the writers take this far too liberally. As a result, you may find yourself watching an adventure cartoon where, if a locale is sufficiently separated from your normal environment, lava may flow in it.
Usually associated with caves and a City of Adventure but can show up in other "exotic" locales like an alien nest in deep space, or prehistoric times. This trope specifically applies to Lava or Magma, and is not limited to New York, or even caves necessarily — for instance, it could be in The Mountains of Illinois.
How did the spelunkers miss these?*
- Literally in the movie Disaster Zone Volcano In New York. Unsurprisingly.
- And Volcano...set in Los Angeles.
- In The Time Machine (1960), a nuclear explosion causes a sudden volcanic eruption in 1966 London, making the traveller trapped inside a cave made of petrified lava for hundred of thousands of years.
- MacGyver (1985): "Good Knight, MacGyver" features a Literal Cliffhanger where Mac and Merlin end up dangling above a Lava Pit in a cave in Scotland (a region not exactly famous for its volcanic activity).
- This is somewhat subverted in that Scotland is historically a surprisingly volcanic region, although it has been dormant for some time.
- In one of the stages of the NES Double Dragon, you must enter a cave from the woods just outside. Only about 15 feet below you is a Lava Pit. In New York.
- The MSX version of Contra featured stages late in the game where one had to navigate magma caverns. Given, this is deep within a tropical island with a mountain on it.
- In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, the only liquid Link could encounter in a cave was Lava. There's even a lava cave on a beach, early on.
- In an excellent "alien" adaptation of the trope, The third scenario of Doom suggests that Hell is located not that far from Mars. Cue red skies and seas of lava.
- Duke Nukem 3D didn't shy away from this trope much. In a level themed after the San Andreas Fault, a massive lava lake can be found just a short distance into a cave. While the area is no doubt without frequent tectonic snaps, its generally not known for its lava.
- There's also the secret level "Fusion Station", a space/alien level situated over (what else?) a lava pit.
- In Batman: Return of the Joker for the Nintendo Entertainment System, part of stage 3-2 involves sailing across a lava pit on a small piece of land. This stage is supposed to be some underground mine in or near Gotham City.
- In the original FDS version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, World 1-2 had pits of water (if Mario/Luigi fell into these, he will drown) both at the very beginning and in the Warp Zone to World 4. However, in the SNES remake, the pit of water at the beginning is emptied out, and the pits of water in World 4's warp area are replaced with pits of lava.
- The Demon Ruins and Lost Izalith in Dark Souls do this. Mind you, it is heavily hinted that all the lava comes from the flame of chaos.
- In Minecraft, due to the randomly-generated nature of the game, it's fully possible to encounter an NPC town with a cavern full of lava just underneath or an open lava lake right next to it.
- While the world won't generate this way in Dwarf Fortress, you can "import" magma from way below the surface or the nearest volcano. This is very useful both as a source of infinite free heat and particularly fiendish traps... and for spectacularly destroying your fortress if you're careless.
- Most of the final chapter of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is set in a fairly modern-looking underground temple — "hounfor" — in New Orleans (stated to be about 200 years old). When you destroy the Big Bad's power source, the temple starts falling apart, floor cracks and something glows at the bottom of the rifts. The final scene shows one of the city landmarks partially covered with glowing lava seeping from the cracks in the ground. Yes, voodoo magic was involved, but this isn't what you'd expect from a game that earlier went to great lengths to stay factually accurate.
- One episode of The Fairly OddParents! had the family end up inside a volcano instead of their destination every time. Although the volcano was pretty close to their destination.
- The climax of Teen Titans's second season finale is set about a kilometer under a very San Francisco-like city. Apropos of nothing, Terra's Earth powers trigger a volcanic eruption that fills the cavern with lava in seconds and is capable of destroying the city. She suffers a Super-Power Meltdown stopping it.
- Featured into several episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, particularly with the Technodrome. May have been prevalent in Dimension X as well.
- Dinobot Island in Transformers Animated was created by a volcano in the middle of Lake Erie.
- 200 million years ago this was Real Life. When North America tore away from Eurasia and Africa (eventually forming the Atlantic Ocean), lava oozed to the surface in the New York area (well, New Jersey to be precise), forming the New Jersey Palisades.
- Though not exactly lava, a fiery inferno does exist just beneath the ground in Centralia, Pennsylvania. The town sits right below a massive deposit of coal that was accidentally set on fire and has grown too big to put out. The ground often crumbles into the burning pits below, steam rises out from cracks, and most of the former residents fled to places where they won't get burned alive at any random time.
- A rather large mass of magma was recently detected beneath New England. It may only be about 50 million years before everyone there is screwed.