Explosion Math

Science Friday

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A tortoise, student, Usain Bolt, and car running away from a lava flow

Credit: W Flemming

Let’s imagine that you, a self-driving car, Bertie the World’s Fastest Tortoise, and Usain Bolt are all hanging out in the same town listening to Science Friday when a volcano erupts. If you all are 1 km from the volcanic flow, can any of you escape the resulting lava flows from a volcano like Fuego or Kīlauea? Assume when thinking of this scenario that anyone who is in it can maintain their speed, and their escape route is a flat unobstructed route along the way. Could they make it to safely to the evacuation transport waiting for them in the next town 5 km away from Kīlauea’s lava flow? How much of a head start would they need in order to make it to that safe distance from that much faster pyroclastic flow of Fuego in Guatemala?

Investigate different types of volcanic eruptions and linear equations to see if you, a car, Usain Bolt, or a tortoise could survive by simply running away. Teachers, you can find the full resource on Science Friday's website by clicking here.

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December 2018