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<   No. 2446   2009-10-07   >

Comic #2446

1 Alvissa: You can't really remove a mountain range, can you?
2 Kyros: Rocks melt, don't they?
3 Alvissa: Right... The mountains are just a couple of miles away. Are we at a safe distance by any chance?
4 Kyros: What's this "safe distance" concept?
4 Alvissa: I thought so.

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Stromboli Eruption I remember the first time I learnt that rocks could melt. I was about seven or eight years old at the time, and of course I had never even considered the possibility that something as solid and hard as a rock could possibly melt.

The very idea is fascinating. Here's this stuff, which is all around us, that we all know and see every day, which is - to put it bluntly - hard as a rock. Yet there are conditions under which it oozes, then flows, then melts into a liquid. Natural conditions too.

There are places in the world you can go and see molten rock. Hawaii is one. The island of Stromboli, off the coast of Italy, is another. In 2001 I visited Stromboli, and climbed up the flank of the volcano. We reached the top at sunset, and from there we could say great sprays of glowing, orange, liquid rock being ejected into the air. I took this photo there. It was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had.

2023-06-10 Rerun commentary: The safe distance to be from lava is a long way away. It's so hot the radiant heat will probably kill you before you get close enough to touch it.

Not that you'd know it from most fictional depictions.

In the more realistic version of The Lord of The Rings, the giant eagles returned Sam and Frodo's scorched bones from Mount Doom. In the most realistic version, the giant eagles never returned at all, because they died trying to retrieve the bodies.

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