There’s a weird death meme in Hollywood: every death-by-lava or molten metal is surprisingly uneventful. Screaming and agony abounds, sure, but everyone reliably sinks into the lava or metal to meet their end, without fail. Well, I’m here to tell you that in reality, it would be worse. Much, much worse.
In my latest Because Science, I’m taking a look at some famous hot, gooey deaths to prove that nearly every scene you’ve ever seen is wrong. Specifically, it seems as though no one has ever considered density, or how much mass of something is in a certain volume. Humans are dense creatures, but not much denser than water—why do you think our bodies can’t decide if they want to sink or float in a swimming pool? Both lava and molten metal are many times denser than water, and by extension, human bodies. So, would anyone ever sink into either hot mess?
Probably not. In fact, a human body would float on top of it, quickly burning alive while skittering around on the surfaces buoyed by a layer of literal skin-gas. Never depicting this reality could just be a result of simple ignorance… but if not I can see why Hollywood would want to keep from showing us that. Eww.
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