Volcanic Eruption
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Basic Information

Volcanic eruptions are pressurized blasts of magma, gas, ash, mud, water, ammonia, methane,, or other materials that originate from the earth itself. It should be noted that volcanoes come in all types and sizes, from average-sized mountains to supervolcanoes that may not appear to be a volcano (such as Yellowstone Caldera), or calderas that are the remanants of old volcanoes long thought dead. Volcanic eruptions have been observed on planets outside of the Earth.

Volcanoes can cause serious repercussions world-wide, as the Year Without A Summer (1816, linked to Mount Tambora). Supervolcanoes have been theorized to have caused extinction events and population bottlenecks in the past. Along with massive destruction, drastic restructuring of the Earth's surface may also occur as a result of the by-products of a volcanic eruption.

Sources

Decade Volcanoes
Mount Vesuvius
Mount Rainier
Galactic super volcano

Bibliography
Wikipedia Phenomenica

Game and Story Use

  • Volcanoes are excellent nesting grounds for dragons, and other fire-based creatures. A protagonist might find travelling around or in a volcano troublesome due to lack of immunity to heat and fire, but the treasure would certainly be worthwhile (at least in the case of dragons).
  • Volcanoes are also known for natural hazards that can harm a protagonist without appearing to be dangerous; an open lava pit maintains a stream of hot air that inevitably rises, while the cooler air is sucked downwards to the surface of the lava, then is repeated. This creates a cycle of air flow that can be quite powerful depending on the wind conditions around the volcano.
  • Another hazard of this nature is the force by which cooling magma is jettisoned from the volcano, causing semi-hot rocks to fall on unsuspecting passers-by.
  • A volcanic eruption also makes a good burning building for your fools to fight in - or a ticking clock against which they must complete their mission. It can also be used to constrain the amount of loot that they can take with them (no looting the dead at leisure if they're covered in magma) and/or to provide a deus (or diabolus) ex machina as required.
  • A number of islands worldwide result from the eruptions of undersea volcanos…
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