The Movies Are Wrong About Lava

It happens all the time in the movies: someone sinks into a pool of lava and burns to death. Would a real-life incident turn out like that? Only sort of ...because it would certainly burn. Erik Klemetti explains what the movies get wrong.
However, the death of Gollum at the end of Return of the King got me thinking. Gollum, if you remember, dove into the lava of Mount Doom after his precious ring was thrown in — he proceeds to sink into the lava (see below) and leaves the ring floating on the lava until it melts away. Guess what? Sinking into lava just will not happen if you’re a human (or remotely human). You’d need to be a Terminator to sink into molten rock/metal … and here’s why.

Molten lava is nothing like water. Sure, everyone thinks that liquid rock (magma) is going to behave like any other liquid (e.g., water), but there are some key physical properties that tell us it just isn’t the case.

Then there's the math and an experiment that explains why one doesn't sink in lava. Still, you don't want to try it at home. Link -via Not Exactly Rocket Science

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having worked as a 65 ton induction furnace operator at GM in MI when I was a young adult, I can confirm that movies do in fact get molten rock/metal all wrong and you would never "sink" into lava, your corpse would just ride out on the top and burn to an ashen cinder or get mixed in with other "floating" debris called "slag" which, in my profession, is scraped off the top of the churning cauldron and discarded.

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This is good to know. Now, if I ever fall into lava I won't waste precious moments thinking to myself "Why aren't I sinking?" I can proceed to "WWWWAAAGGGHHHHOMGHOTHOTHO....."
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