The experiment involves throwing a bundle of 30-kilogram organic waste (that is close to human physiology and will trigger the same response) in Erta Ale, an active volcano in Ethiopia, as a simulation of what happens when a human falls into it.
The video shows that just as the organic matter hits the lava lake, the first layer of solidified ash that forms over the molten lava breaks and submerges the material. In response to the breakage, a bust of lava fountain bubbles and grows.
This video was first posted on YouTube by Photovolcanica, an extensive archive of volcano-related material maintained by geothermal enthusiasts. In the description of the experiment, Photovocanica wrote, “The lake reacts with violent lava fountaining activity, presumably in part due to steam produced from the organic matter.”
A segment from this experiment was recently shared online by a popular Twitter page called Historic Vids (@historyinmemes). This tweeted video was captioned, “Awakening a volcano by throwing a rock” and it has over 8.7 million views.
A person compared the act of throwing into a lava lake with Scrat, an acorn-obsessed squirrel from the Ice Age film series, and said, “It’s like Scrat embedding the acorn into the ground and triggering some cataclysmic event.”