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Credit: Jeffrey A. Karson

Want to get kids interested in science? Well, DIY Lava Flows are one extreme way to go about it. Earth Magazine reports on the Syracuse University Lava Project:

Picture this: You’re walking across the tree-lined quad of Syracuse University, amid brick and stone buildings, when you happen upon a crowd of people. Crowds on the quad aren’t unusual, but this crowd is unusually diverse — students, professors and even parents with kids. You move a little closer and smell something odd: a blend of sulfur and marshmallows. Then you see it — molten lava pouring down the slope of a parking lot.

This is our brainchild, the Syracuse University (SU) Lava Project — a unique mix of science, art and education that we developed to investigate the physical properties, aesthetics and educational opportunities of creating basaltic lava flows in a controlled— albeit outdoor — laboratory environment.


Chunks of basaltic rock, similar to that found on the seafloor and in Hawaii and Iceland, are melted and poured to produce natural-scale lava flows up to a few meters long. In addition to facilitating scientific experiments that engage faculty and students at SU and volcanologists from other institutions, the project also supports artistic creations and engages the public, providing formal and informal educational opportunities.

In between experiments, we occasionally let kids roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the hot lava. But the main goal of the project is to study basaltic lava.

Credit: Jeffrey A. Karson

Check out the great write-up in Earth Magazine for more information.

Credit: Jeffrey A. Karson

David Lang

Co-Founder of OpenROV, a community of DIY ocean explorers and makers of low-cost underwater robots. Author of Zero to Maker. And on Twitter!


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Comments

  1. [...] They’ve performed over a 100 lava flows since the start of the program and even roast marshmallows over the lava. Read about the whole lava project at Earth magazine via MAKE] [...]

  2. [...] fai da te, avete letto bene. Il magazine Make, bibbia per gli appassionati del do it yourself, presenta con molta enfasi il progetto della Syracuse University. Il Lava Project, al confine tra scienza, [...]

  3. Sujen says:

    This makes science fun and interesting.

  4. [...] They’ve performed over 100 lava flows since the start of the program and even roast marshmallows over the lava. Read about the whole lava project at Earth magazine via MAKE] [...]

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  6. [...] Eles criaram mais de 100 correntes de lava desde o início do programa, e até esquentaram alguns marshmallows nela. [Earth magazine via MAKE] [...]

  7. [...] Eles criaram mais de 100 correntes de lava desde o início do programa, e até esquentaram alguns marshmallows nela. [Earth magazine via MAKE] [...]

  8. [...] Eles criaram mais de 100 correntes de lava desde o início do programa, e até esquentaram alguns marshmallows nela. [Earth magazine via MAKE] [...]