Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 14th Jun 2008

Fire and Mud - The Science of Volcanoes

A small eruption on Mount Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia. (c) Oliver Spalt @ Wikipedia

Get Red Hot and Dirty with the Naked Scientists as we explore the science of volcanoes. We discover how the heat from hot rocks can be used to work out what gases are emerging, how likely a volcano is to erupt and whether it will go with a bang or a whimper. We also hear how hot runny rock can shatter under pressure to trigger an earthquake, and dip into the cooler, dirtier world of mud Volcanoes, like Lusi, which is currently pouring millions of gallons of mud onto the island of Java. Plus, we find out how a small date plant made history by being the oldest seed ever to germinate, why the paper of the future could be as tough as iron, and, in Kitchen Science, Ben and Dave provoke an eruption of their own!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 16:58 - Flour Volcano

    Build a model of some of the largest volcanoes on the planet, using some flour and a balloon.

  • 21:40 - Looking into a volcano

    Marie Edmonds studies the gasses being released from volcanoes without having to do the dangerous bit of actually climbing into them.

  • 29:06 - Quakes from within the magma

    Normally you think of magma as being a runny liquid, but it seems to fracture like a solid, Meera finds out more.

  • 33:48 - Mud volcanoes

    Although you think of most eruptions being hot and fiery, but a mud volcano is entirely different. It is cold but it can still be extremely destructive.

  • 41:07 - What rock looks like glass inside and mineral outside?

    I found a crystal on a beach that looks like glass where itís broken but it looks like a mineral on the outside. We can cut glass with it and it doesnít affect the stone crystal. Can only a diamond cut glass?

  • 41:46 - Are there more dense materials in the earth's core?

    The Earthís core is made of heavy and dense metals, mostly iron, are the most dense metal at the centre of the core. In other words, if we were to drill down 6000km would we find enormous quantities of things like gold and uranium and osmium?

  • 43:00 - Will melting ice change the shape of the earth?

    If the ice caps melt and the weight of all that water gets redistributed about the planet given that the planetís just a ball of molten stuff underneath a relatively thin crust will the shape of the Earth change when all the ice goes?

  • 44:22 - Can Cooking Cut Calories?

    Recently a friend of mine was telling me about a pizza that he burned to the point of becoming a charred husk ten times smaller than the original. At that point I realised that this pizza had now become a very low-calorie alternative to its former self. My question is whether all...



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What is the warmest it has ever gotten on earth ? Matthew, Sun, 15th Jun 2008

Is the worst snake's venom more poisonous than the worst spider's venom ??? Matthew, Sun, 15th Jun 2008

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