Tuesday, May 10, 2005



The upcoming trip to Hawaii means that I could possibly see some lava up close. I read that it's illegal to remove anything from a national park (including magma) but I have been fascinated with the idea of getting some molten lava. I've done a tiny amount of research and discussed this with my co-workers and we have some ideas.

First, I suppose when I am talking about getting some lava, I mean surface flows. While most of the lava from the current eruption at Kilauea travels through underground lava tubes, some lava fields from there have a dull red glow - evidence of an active and at least partially molten surface. The serious molten lava that travels through the lava tubes is about 2000 degrees farenheit. So, the dim red glows sometimes seen at the surface that I am interested in are somewhere between 1000-1500 degrees.

My first idea here was to poke the lava with a stick. The thinking here was that a small amount would stay attached to the stick and, because it is removed from the exposure of the surrounding burning hot magma, it would cool down quickly. Even if the stick catches on fire, I thought, it might cool enough when not being poked in to retain it's basic stick shape and hold on to some of the lava. This idea still has not gained any traction here at the office, despite my finding that searching Google for "poke lava with a stick" returns a result.

Jason suggested some sort of container on a stick, like a coffee can. I told him the sample size I was looking for was smaller, plus given the illegality I'm thinking about something less conspicuous. "How about a can of dip on a stick?" A can of dip is too cardboardey. "Altoids tin attached to your shoe!" This is a definite possibility. The Altoids tin would certainly sustain considerable damage, but I think it would also probably successfully get at least a little lava maybe.

Rick says he saw someone on TV with a giant heat resistant ladle. If I see one on the way I will see how much it is. Maybe K-Mart or Williams Sonoma would have something like this. If the price is right I'll consider it. Keep your eyes open for me.

Bill was the office naysayer. He didn't like any of these ideas. He said the stick would immediately burn and the Altoids would melt. His only suggestion for getting lava was to check Ebay. That's why we call Bill "Mr. Useless."

I told you the stick would burn, too :p
You should make one of those things from Ghostbusters II that they used to collect the emotion-sensitive slime.
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