The question “what would happen if I jumped into molten lava?” doesn't usually come up in normal conversation (not if you're over 10 years old, anyway), but the subject was apparently first and foremost on the minds of the documentary team Photovolcanica.
Photo: J.P. Eaton
The filmmakers were observing the incineration of trash in the lake of lava produced by the Ethiopian volcano Erta Ale when they began to wonder if a human body would sink into the lava before being consumed by the tremendous heat, or if it would burst into flames on contact.
Photo: David Jordan/Associated Press
“It is possible to briefly walk on certain types of lava if professional heat-protective clothing is worn,” the team explains on their YouTube channel. “However, the video shows that falling from a height, a person would be able to penetrate the crust of the lake and submerge in it.” (Needless to day, they discourage viewers from testing this theory on their own.)
The experiment was conducted with a bag of organic waste of the approximate size and weight of a human body, which was dropped from about 80 meters into the lava lake. The reaction is pretty dramatic, as you'll see below: