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Dante's Peak: Recognizing Fiction from Fact

See how various scenes depicted in 'Dante's Peak' were falsely portrayed and how they'd play out realistically.
by

Angel Hernandez

on 11 May 2011

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Transcript of Dante's Peak: Recognizing Fiction from Fact

Dante's Peak:Recongnizing Fiction from Fact By Charlie Cauffman and Angel Hernandez The Overview Lava Flows Hot springs earthquakes Lava vs. Truck The Mine Shaft weeeeee! The Forced Evacuation of Grandma The Scientist, Mayor and her kids have all reached the stubborn Grandma at her home on the side of Dante's Peak.
As they're about to leave the house, the side of the home quickly turns a glowing reddish-orange hue and quickly gives way to a huge lava flow.
This lava flow quickly overtakes the home and melts the trucks in the driveway. Great Cinema, Poor Science Charlie Cauffman
Angel Hernandez

DANTE'S PEAK (1997)

Grade: B- (84%) Lava EXCITES! people.
Maybe it's because of a trip to Hawaii when they were 12.
Maybe it's because it reminds them of the final scene in Terminator 2 where Arnold Schwarzeneggar lowers himself into the pool of molten lava* (steel) at the foundry.
Whatever the reason, it was great cinematic license to add it to Dante's Peak, but otherwise utterly false. Lava flow from a Cascadian Composite Volcano? Lava is hot- truck is not Believe it or not, lava flows have been known to erupt from Composite Volcanoes.
Some volcanoes in the Andes Mountains have been known to erupt andesitic lava.
However, lava flows is not a trait of Cascadian composite volcano.
Volcanic ash, pyroclastic flow and poisonous gas are the key players. possible? yes plausible? no Taking a red pen to the scene To be accurate, the director would need to remove lava completely.
A more plausible scenario would involve the actors attempting to leave, only to find that the large amounts of volcanic ash has rendered the truck's engine clogged and unusable.
We could use tephra bombs, but we don't want to kill the actors yet. + = Two obvious sinners skinny-dipping in Twonset Hot Springs This scene shows a young couple dipping into a hot spring at the base of Dante's Peak.
Romantic interlude leads to death. Instant-fried lovers? There are generally two types of hot springs in an active volcanic area.
First - water is heated by a close-by magma source at the bottom of the spring that has superheated and filled the water with chemicals making it unusable by humans.
Second - water is heated by a nearby magma source that heats the water by heating rocks at the bottom, indirectly heating the water to a threshold suitable for human use. Hot spring types Realistically, this scenario is possible, but not likely.
If there were a release of magma, it would have more likely been immediately preceeded by an earthquake, yet none was shown in the movie.
Even in the event of magma entering the hot spring, it's more likely that the lava would solidify on contact with the water and not rise. Taking a red pen to the scene To better portray what might actually happen the director should add a small earthquake once the two swimmers were in the hot spring.
The rock at the bottom of the pool would crack and lava would appear, but solidify at the bottom.
Massive amounts of steam would rise to the top, burning the two unfortunate interluders, yet they would make it out of the hot springs alive, if not burned from the combination of rapidly rising temperature of the water, steam, and chemicals. Daring Escape from the Pyroclastic Flow The scientist and the mayor's family are desperately trying to flee the incoming and fast approaching pyroclastic cloud.
Their truck no longer has tires, and there's a heavy layer of volcanic ash already on the ground in the town.
As a last-ditch maneuver, the scientist plunges the truck into an abandoned mine shaft, narrowly missing the pyroclastic flow that was seconds from overtaking the truck.
Everyone lives Pyroclastic what? Pyroclastic flow is a very fast stream of extremely hot volcanic gas, ash, and tephra.
It can be as fast as 400+mph.
It can be as hot as 1800 degrees fahrenheit Any movie with Pierce Brosnan + kids needs a happy ending (See: "Mrs. Doubtfire")
The problem with this scene is that they live.
The pyroclastic cloud chasing them is incoming at 400+ mph and full of lethal and toxic ash, gas, and rocks
The sheer force and temperature of the pyroclastic cloud would kill in several ways.
Extremely high pressure rushing in from the continuous event would be more than their bodies could handle, as well as explode the vehicle and everything else.
Extremely high temperatures would melt truck, wood support beams of mine shaft and scorch them alive.
Lethal amounts of toxic gas would asphyxiate them. Taking a red pen to the scene they escape to the mine shaft, even though they're driving on volcanic ash and likely cannot drive very fast for risk of losing control.
Immediately after they crash into the mine shaft, the immense pressure, heat, and gases burst in behind them, searing everything in sight. The truck is destroyed, the support beams collapse and burn and the air becomes extremely poisonous.
The protagonists pass away.
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