Monday, 30 September 2013

How to model igneous processes using wax and sand

'Volcano in the lab' is a very popular activity with everyone. Using wax, sand and cold water, it models very successfully a volcanic plumbing system with the lava spreading out over the surface of the Earth at the top. In this model it is possible to see through the Earth's crust.
The wax can be re-used lots of times so it's a useful resource that you can keep ready.
This is one of many innovative ideas, all free to download from our website.

1 comment:

Mary from New Mexico said...

A very popular demonstration with students. This year I combined this ELI with Partial Melting (ELI #82) and created a mixed layer of pebbles and wax below the sand. Students were thus able to see that it is not necessary to have a completely molten layer to generate magmas.
Several phenomena we observed this year included, small puffs of 'magma' rising from the vent, so we ended up with small balls of wax floating on the water. The other larger vent demonstrated a rather complex intrusive body beneath the surface flow.