You can't have everything. Where would you put it? -Steven Wright
Question #45564 posted on 06/11/2008 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Suppose a person falls into molten lava a la Smeagol at the end of the Return of the King, how long does it take for werf to die and of what cause specifically do they die? I'm not being morbid, just curious, as always.

- Curious

A: Dear morbidly curious,

First of all, seeing as how it's liquid rock we're talking about here, this person will not sink below the surface, so drowning is out. Even if werf fell head first, I'm assuming the impact with such a dense liquid plus the intense heat would do werf in before lack of air. According to this,
People engulfed by a pyroclastic flow typically die from asphyxiation due to inhaling ash or oxygen deprivation, exposure to the intense heat, massive thermal burns, burial under volcanic debris or fatal traumatic injuries from associated high-energy blasts that displace trees, buildings and rocks.
My guess is that your poor person would die of a combination of asphyxia (you can't breath super-heated air) and heat (your body shuts down when it gets too hot or is actually on fire) within seconds of impact. At the very least werf would pass out within seconds from the extreme pain, which is pretty much the same as dying since werf isn't going to be waking up again.

If you would like to study this further, I'd be glad to throw you in a volcano in exchange for a trip to Hawaii. Call me.

-=Optimus Prime=-