In this world, there are two types of people -- The Volcans, who are the standard volcanologists, and The Vulcans, who are the plumbers and engineers. I fear I am the only one in this latter category, but I shall continue to pretend there are more of us! (Does this sound like a bad Twilight sequel?)
Just to point out a difference -- Why do these volcanoes suddenly come to life? The Volcans believe that some mysterious spirit touches the magma pool, and it becomes active. The Vulcans assume that the surrounding rock has cooled and collapsed, and is now pressing on the resident magma pools, like some giant, ripe zit!
And so, into this conflicting world came our Movie People. They thought that the world was ready for a new volcano special. Apparently, there is still money in providing HD science specials for satellite. They have not heard of a double-dip recession, and I stand amazed...
They went to the most senior academic Volcan. My heart shudders at what happened, since I have read all the science blogs, and am most terrified of the Science Old Boys Club. As we know from Darwin's struggles, they hold a position until death. So the movie people talked to all the Volcans, and saw their nice table-top models of rising magma. They were convinced that sand and corn syrup were the ideal thing. But the mp's had a great idea -- What if we scale up this table-top sand volcano, with it's pipes and heaters, and make it 30 feet high! That would be neat!
This is the Volcan supreme model!
For what happens with sand, pressure chambers, and table-tops at 30 feet (the size of those roadside covered sand-boobs, for winter sanding), we have to review our scaling laws.
(to be continued)