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"Fire--as long as you're not directly touching it, it can't hurt you."

Lava: primal force, essence of destruction that leaves behind fertile land; really, really hot.

As awesome as lava is, most TV writers and video game developers forget that "really hot" part. The hero is making his way through the Lethal Lava Land, but wait! There are floating rocks, he can make it across in a really dramatic way! Except in the real world, the rising heat would have fried him already, and rocks do not float in lava anyway. Put your hand above an open flame and you have an idea of how hot that room, cave, or Eternal Engine should be. While it's possible for the outer layer of lava to cool, forming an insulating shell where the inner layer flows but people can get close to it relatively safely as long as they don't touch it, this is never seen in fiction where red-hot lava flows as free and exposed as river water.

Convection, the process by which a liquid or gas (like air) forms currents that very quickly spread heat from a hot thing to its environment, does not exist in TV land. Convection, Schmonvection - as long as you don't touch the lava, you're okay. Note that this trope covers heat radiation as well (but Radiation Schmadiation would sound like I Love Nuclear Power...), and seeing as large explosions create shockwaves as well as fireballs, this also covers Overpressure What Overpressure. TV also ignores the other hazards of volcanoes and lava flows, such as toxic gases and blinding, choking ash.

Although lava is the primary offender, this also applies to any time convection is ignored for the sake of Rule of Cool, such as when a character is standing above or near a large fire or any other extreme heat source. If you don't touch the raging inferno, boiling lake, or white-hot walls, you'll be fine.

For some reason, the reverse is demonstrated a bit more realistically; characters will feel cold in a cave or other area that's in perpetual winter, or frigid enough to have ice form on the walls. However, as long as they bundle up, the most they'll ever get is a longing for some hot cocoa and a warm fireplace. In addition to the obvious Rule of Cool involved, another justification may lie with the Rule of Perception: Viewers can't feel any heat, so obviously there isn't any. This is especially applicable to Video Games, where having to dodge not only lava, but the invisible heat it gives off would be rather irritating.

Lava is also rarely found just calmly laying around - when it slows, it has time to cool and harden. If it's been liquid for any appreciable length of time, it will probably look like this. This is a subtrope of Artistic License Physics.

See also: Lava Pit, Lava Is Boiling Kool-Aid, Battle Amongst the Flames, Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud, Hailfire Peaks, Thermal Dissonance, Harmless Electrocution and Harmless Freezing. Toasted Buns and Lava Adds Awesome are related tropes.

A complete but no more accurate inversion is "Space Is Cold", where there is no convection, but TV acts as though there is.

Examples of Convection, Schmonvection include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • In the Pokémon anime, Cinnabar Island's Gym is now located in a volcano. The characters comment on the heat inside, but Fire and Rock Types can withstand the intense temperature without actually having to fall in (with the exception of Magmar). This makes it especially awesome when the deciding rematch for the Volcano Badge takes place over a Lava Pit, with Charizard surviving a full dunk with nary a burn.
  • Yellow's second battle against Lance in the Pokémon Special takes place in and around the crater of an active volcano. Despite being inches from the lava, Yellow is fine thanks to riding on the Substitute shaped like a surfboard that Pika makes.
    • It gets leagues more ridiculous. Lance was able to survive Yellow's Pika making a lava cyclone (by surfing!) using a shield made of bubbles.
  • Ronin Warriors twists this around so much. When the heroes are split up, Ryo is found in an active volcano. His power is fire based, so the lava makes his mystic armor stronger, but it gives off heat. When Anubis throws two unarmored characters into the volcano, Ryo dives after them but realizes that his armor's heat will kill them if he grabs them, but the fact they're in a volcano doesn't bothers him.
  • Mazinger Z: Many battles happened around volcanoes, near volcanoes or IN volcanoes, and at least once The Hero Kouji was dunked in lava. Since Kouji always remained inside Mazinger-Z, his Humongous Mecha provided protection from extreme heat, toxic fumes and other dangers, but in the episode where Mazinger-Z took an unwilling magma dive it was stated not even Mazinger-Z's armor and heat-insulation could endure THAT for long, and Kouji eventually would die of extreme heat, burning, dehydration or asphyxia. The sequels -Great Mazinger, UFO Robo Grendizer- and reimaginations Mazinkaiser played with the trope as well.
  • In Naruto, the Katon (Fire Element) jutsus in the series are almost always useless. Of course, they're always made out to be a big deal, but since they never directly connect the effects of convection are never shown. During the Valley of the End fight between Naruto and Sasuke, a fire jutsu from Sasuke leaves the rocks beneath Naruto literally glowing; Naruto isn't so much as singed, although he is somehow weakened.
    • In another example, from the Naruto: Shippuden the Movie, the priestess Shion goes running to where some evil demon's body is sealed in a shrine located along a thin strip of rock. In a volcano. Barefoot. This also throws into question why one would put a shrine in a freakin' volcano.
    • Itachi's Amaterasu, which creates black fire said to be hot as the sun, should destroy everything in the area of its use, but you can get right next to it unless it touches you (then it needs to be sealed/brought down by its user or it keeps burning). Even as hyperbole, it's a bit of a stretch.
    • The battle between Itachi and Sasuke gives an utterly bizarre subversion as someone is able to shoot multiple giant fireballs whose heat (along with that of Amaterasu) raises up to the sky and rapidly forms a thundercloud.
  • During Bleach's Fake Karakura Town arc, Yamamoto traps Aizen, Gin and Kaname inside a giant ball of fire. They just stand there looking pretty for a few chapters and when it's finally extinguished they don't appear any worse for wear.
    • Justified in that the powers of a zanpakuto seem to be dependent on the spiritual pressure of the user. Aizen and co. likely just upped their pressure enough to avoid damage from the heat and flame. Yama-jii, meanwhile, was only trying to keep them out of the battle, and didn't bother to try and harm them.
    • Or, to put it another way: they're ghosts. They have an excuse for not following the letter of the laws of physics. Hence why they're able to float in the air.
  • Speed Racer and another driver almost fall into an active volcano while racing, but they are able to climb up the side no problem. Another episode has a race inside a volcano. Speed drives the Mach 5 through lava. The tires don't even melt.
  • In Mai-Otome Mashiro and Arika end up eaten by some sort of monster that has lava in its gut. Despite being in a close space with lava only inches away, they are fine.
  • Makoto from Ghost Hound runs into a heavily burning house to save his mother, without wearing any protection whatsoever, thus doing something that even the firemen in their fireproof suits couldn't pull off. The fire also appears to be totally smoke free.
  • Subverted in Mega Man NT Warrior. Cross Fusion MegaMan and ProtoMan are standing inside a volcano in one episode, and it doesn't affect them a bit. However, the second Lan drops his armor to load more battlechips, he starts dancing around like he's burned, and Chaud warns him to hurry up or he'll be cooked alive from the heat coming from the magma.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has Nightshroud force Jaden into a duel by kidnapping his friends and placing them in a life-or-death situation. This isn't unusual in a series where card games save the world, but it fits this trope because said life-or-death situation is suspending Jaden's friends in a force field inches above a lava pool in a volcano (with the English version characters making wisecracks like "Now I know what a grilled cheese feels like" all the while).
  • One Piece had a filler arc where the Big Bad had eaten a Devil Fruit that allowed him to increase his body temperature to 10000 degrees Celsius, something that causes an underwater volcano to erupt underneath the ice archipelago they're on, which eventually culminates with Luffy and the Big Bad duking it out with magma surrounding them, with said villain literally standing in the lava without any effect. It could be handwaved that he is hotter than the magma, thus making it seem rather cool in comparison, but Luffy literally only has a block of ice separating him from being melted, with only breaking a minor sweat.
    • Not only that, but Luffy comes into direct contact with said Big Bad more than once during the fight and aside from a few superficial burns he's all right.
      • Like that weren't enough, that contact never lasted very long, just long enough for Luffy to get in a hit, and he quickly learned that this was a bad idea. But at the end of the fight, he maintains contact for several seconds with the guy like a few inches away from him before finally pushing him away. He's injured sure, but it's just generic battle injuries. None the worse for wear from having been in close proximity and actually touching a guy that's 10K degrees.
    • Now the manga's gotten in on the act with the revelation that Akainu is a magma Logia. He's duking it out with Whitebeard and while he is doing pretty well, he's not doing as well as he should given the fact that HE'S MADE OF FRIKKIN LAVA! Hell, he gives a magma punch in the face to Whitebeard and only the part of his face he touched was injured.
    • When Ace was freed from the execution platform, he held onto Luffy...with a tunnel of flames around them. Yet Luffy looks no worse for the wear.
  • Gatchaman episode 99. The team is trapped in a big shaft and manages to get out about a second before lava, that is following them and filling the entire shaft, reaches the top. Injury: none.
    • Well, they are wearing super suits. Then again, considering most of their faces are still exposed you'd at least expect a lost eyebrow or two.
  • Averted in Gundam Wing. It's shown several times that the title mech's BFG is so powerful that the heatwave generated by the particle beam can incinerate Mooks dozens of feet away from the beam itself.
  • Lampshaded in Hayate the Combat Butler: Hayate and Koutetsu have a duel on a rock surrounded by lava while everyone else watches from the sidelines. Miki and Riza lampshade this trope just before Izumi's dress catches on fire, promptly ending the duel.
  • While it's mostly used straight in Fairy Tail with Natsu's flames never seeming to ignite anything, it is averted once. When fighting an enemy whose wind-magic armor allows him to deflect Natsu's attacks, Natsu gets hot enough to create a small firestorm, and the resulting updraft strips away his enemy's armor.
    • It's particularly ridiculous when it's revealed that Natsu's flames can burn through metal. Yet they rarely seem to burn anyone severely.
  • Averted in Gamble Fish. Tomu is playing a game in which the loser gets a pot full of 1200 degree coals dumped on them. Everybody is getting noticeably hotter as the pot gets closer, and they're all perfectly aware that if the pot gets close enough Tomu will get roasted without even touching the coals. Sure enough, at a distance of 30 centimeters the stone table on which the game is being played begins to melt. Just to get close enough to take his turn Tomu has to fashion a makeshift safety suit out of several layers of clothing, and even then it only lasts a few seconds before bursting into flames, leaving Tomu himself with quite a few burns.
  • Averted in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. While formidable in the original anime, Roy Mustang REALLY throws down in Brotherhood, proving that fire alchemy was easily one of (if not) the most powerful forms in the entire series. There's not one scene where Roy's abilities were downplayed, it's even made note of when Roy loses his eyesight that he was the one most troubling in a fight.
    • At the very end of the series, after absorbing God, Father creates a miniature sun in the palm of his hand. No one in the room so much as notices any heat, and his hand is unharmed. Of course, when you're precipitating nuclear fusion with a thought, convection is the least of the laws of physics that you're screwing with.
  • Averted in the Filler Arc "Asgard" of Saint Seiya. God Warrior Hagen of Merak Beta lures the ice-and-cold-wielding Saint Cygnus Hyoga into the depths of a volcano. While Hagen's Cloth and his own supernatural Cosmo explicitly protect him from the heat (and, indeed, the lava enhances his attacks,) Hyoga has to spend such a considerable amount of his cooling Cosmo just to survive in the volcano, let alone attack his enemy, that he completely exhausts himself doing so.
  • Also averted in Ranma ½. No volcanoes, but the final enemy is a phoenix-Half-Human Hybrid who can generate as much flame and heat as he wants. With one swipe of his wings, or a wave of his hands, he can toss a gout of flame that, aside from burning, it heats up the air around it and the resulting pressure actually punches through solid rock. Later in the fight, when this enemy's Battle Aura causes the rock to melt into magma, Ranma tries to shield himself from it with a frozen boulder. The boulder (which took the brunt of the hit) is disintegrated and Ranma himself is scorched despite never coming into contact with the magma. In the end, even when the foe isn't emitting any flame, the extreme heat in the air around him is what makes Ranma's final attack possible.


Comic Books Edit

  • The Fantastic Four's Human Torch can safely carry people and objects by extinguishing the flame on his hands. Being right next to the rest of his flaming body is apparently not a problem (though, admittedly, it would be much hotter above the Torch than next to him).
    • It has been said that The Human Torch can control who/what he burns with his flame. It's not always followed, though.
    • In Secret Wars, when the Torch uses his "nova flame" to take out Ultron, it burns so hot that it melts clean through the surrounding solid-metal walls and floor. When the smoke clears, Captain America, who was standing a few yards away and protected only by huddling his upper body behind his shield, is perfectly unharmed. Apparently, his body's melting point is a lot higher than that of whatever alien metal was used to build Doombase. His shield absorbs kinetic energy, not heat.
  • Subverted in one issue of X-Force, where Wolverine's female clone, X-23 was above a vat of molten metal, and falls. The next time we see her, all her hair has burned away and she has third-degree burns all over. Her clothes were burned away too, making Elixir run around in his underwear after covering her up. Turned out she bounced off the side of the vat to the ground, but the brief exposure to the heat was still enough to harm her. Of course, she has a Healing Factor so she got better.
  • Lampshaded in an issue of DC's Young Justice:

 Empress: Mon, this place makes no sense. In an active lava field, the ground is so hot, you can get incinerated just by standing on it. How come we still got feet even?

Robin: You're complaining because it wasn't more difficult?!? Are you nuts?!

  • At one point, Magneto had a base in the Antarctic surrounded by lava, the only thing keeping the lava from destroying the base was a force field. Yet, when the device controlling the force field is destroyed the lava only slowly leaks in before it finally bursts in. Magneto survives by using his powers to keep it away from him, but it's unknown how the rest of the X-Men survived all of it.


Film Edit

  • Somewhat confusing in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The climactic fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin takes place above a lake of molten lava. They spend most of the fight floating above the lava on platforms with no ill effect from the heat. But then Anakin suffers horrible burns when not touching the lava later. According to Lucas, the symbolic importance of the fight's lake-of-fire venue trumped any desire for natural plausibility. That aside, it has been suggested for example that the two Jedi were using the Force to shield themselves, and Anakin's concentration simply broke when he was dismembered. However, a fairly obvious explanation exists and seems to be clearly implied by the movie itself. We see a bit earlier that the "arms" of the lava mining platform have a force field shielding it, and once it's accidentally undone, it starts to rapidly disintegrate. The smaller platforms used later have the same kind of blue glow underneath them. In conclusion, this is most likely an Aversion, though one using some kind of very handy unexplained technology.
    • And certainly there was some research done between this and the original mention of Anakin getting burns after falling into a pit of lava.
    • Also worth noting is Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, where Qui-Gon Jinn attempts to melt through a blast door with his lightsaber; he's standing next to it at the time, with his hands literally inches away from molten metal, but he doesn't even get singed. Force-based protection from heat seems as reasonable an explanation as any.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow, among other examples of terrible, terrible science featured a scene where a main character runs down a hallway where the temperature is dropping so fast that moisture in the air turns to ice on the walls in less than a second. Despite the fact that he's only wearing normal clothes and a coat, our hero seems to be in no danger as long as he doesn't let the rapidly forming ice catch him - the air a few feet in front of the death zone is only somewhat chilly (and moving slower than a running human). He also manages to hold back the cold entirely by entering a room with a fireplace and shutting the door, but that's a different issue.
    • Amazingly, this is the least of the movie's problems; cold air is fairly harmless for short periods of time, but the movie earlier shows a man freezing to death within seconds of entering the super-cold air.
    • Cold air (very poor heat conductor, anyway) and even touch of ice or snow on skin are nearly harmless for very short time. People who take a bath in hot springs can exit and spend from a few seconds to a few minutes in sub-zero air while dressing up, or even rub themselves with snow and afterwards dress up quickly, with no ill effects. Prolonged exposure over many hours is the culprit for frostbite and death.
  • Despite breaking almost as many scientific rules as The Day After Tomorrow, The Core actually averted this nicely. One crewman had to step outside safe area of the ship, never touched lava, and still burned to death. He was wearing a protective suit - which is the only reason he could even open the door without immediately bursting into flame while simultaneously imploding from the intense heat and pressure. Previously they had to use liquid nitrogen, the ship's coolant, to exit the ship without bursting into flames. The crew is notably sweating through the rest of the movie, even while in the ship.
  • Used in the movie version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, in which two barefoot hobbits were able to walk on the rock of an erupting volcano, only a few feet from the flowing lava on either side. To be fair, the soles on Hobbit feet are about as leathery as shoes (and in theory the rock they were walking on hadn't had time to heat up yet--rock's a pretty bad conductor). When Gollum and The One Ring fall into the Crack of Doom, neither show any signs of burning even when Gollum gets completely submerged.
  • Since we brought up Terminator 2, it should be mentioned that this trope was lightly averted during the final chase scene when Sarah Connor declares that it is "too hot" to approach the open pit of molten metal.
  • A similar event in the Sylvester Stallone movie Demolition Man in which the villain holds a blowtorch mere inches away from a floor which is covered in gasoline. Never mind that the fumes coming from it would have surely caught fire instantly, as long as the naked flame doesn't touch the liquid itself it's fine.
  • Dante's Peak has a scene where a truck drives over lava and the tires only melt a little. Other than that, though, it was a fairly well-researched movie.
    • The scene where lava starts pouring into the wooden house, that miraculously hadn't caught fire already, surprised instead of incinerated all of the characters there. Also, when they run outside, the lava has already swept through the surrounding small pine trees, most of which were still standing.
  • Unlike Volcano, where, after blocking the lava with concrete barriers, the fire fighters lean over the top of said barriers while laughing about the lava.
    • A documentary about volcanoes which also reviewed the scientific accuracy of the above films. One geologist remarked that he and his colleagues would pay a lot of money to have one of those trucks that could drive on lava.
      • Funny thing when you know Top Gear made one fairly easily
      • No, they made a vehicle which could survive getting up to about 50 metres from the crater, and the tyres caught fire in they stayed still on the then day or so old scoria for more than a minute or so.
    • The scene in the subway in Volcano is an utter howler; a man is able to move around in a train car so hot it's actually melting all around him, making it so hot all the "survivors" he's rescuing would have been incinerated. Then came the part where the stupid man stupidly jumps into lava, stupidly remaining conscious and throwing another grown adult clear of it, and then stupidly melting. And it was stupid, did we mention that? Especially the utterly ridiculous premise that people were actually using the subway in Los Angeles.
      • Yes, nobody rides the second busiest subway per-mile in America.
      • On the plus side, the part where he jumped into the lava was excellent fodder for I'm Melting jokes.
    • Volcano is made even more ridiculous because, during the concrete barrier scene, the protagonists have to rescue an unconscious fireman stuck at the far end of a fire truck's ladder. Apparently convection from a precarious position is enough to make metal melt and bend, and clothes ignite, but if you make it to solid ground you're safe even if you're closer to the lava now than you were while up on the ladder.
    • Also, the scene with the barriers ends with aerial drops of water onto the pool of lava to solidify it. The resulting clouds of superheated steam which engulfed everyone nearby should have flash-broiled them all, but they safely emerged unhurt.
  • The Incredibles has plenty of fun with lava. Mr. Incredible gets awfully close to it during his first fight with the Omnidroid, while the Omnidroid actually falls into the lava, and emerges unscathed, even though it's so hot it's glowing orange. Maybe heat resistance is another of Mr. Incredible's superpowers (he seemed just fine in the scene in the burning apartment); maybe the Omnidroid was made from heat-resistant Unobtainium. Either way, there's no excuse for non-superpowered Syndrome (and presumably Mirage) not being cooked alive by the secret passageway with walls made of flowing lava. Maybe they had force fields or something.
    • Confirmed: Mr. Incredible has Super Toughness and the Omnidroid is in fact stated to be made of Nigh Invulnerable Unobtainium. However, the movie does include the closely-related trope of rocks floating in lava.
    • Since they were WALLS of lava rather than just a gushy mass destroying the entire base and everyone inside and Syndrome was a technological genius, I think it's probably safe to assume that there were force fields of some sort involved. Heck, he probably had a converter built to use the heat from the convection to power his base.
    • It is never stated nor visually implied that it is lava and not just a fancy lava-like wall made of colored glass or plastic just to look cool.
  • The scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where Willie (the woman) was raised and lowered in an iron cage. She was lowered so close to the molten rock that she should have burst into flames. Just in case the whole "beating heart" thing wasn't stupid awesome enough...
    • The poor sap who gets lowered before her does burst into flames.
    • The Novelization goes into full detail of how excruciating the experience was for poor Willie. At one point it even explicitly says that her eyelashes singe and her dress starts smoking, and she eventually passes out from the high temperature.
  • In Dragon Ball Evolution, Goku forms a series of stepping stones across a pit of lava, with corpses.
    • The other characters had to walk around the edge of the area to meet back up with him. This could be due to the fact that, as mentioned in many other pages, Goku is a super-powered alien and survived something like this in the original anime more than once. Or it could be due to the fact that this incarnation of Goku is incredibly dumb and completely missed the safer, cooler path around the pit.
  • The destruction of the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin.
  • Journey to The Center of The Earth in 3-D.
  • The ending to Godzilla 1985 has the monster being trapped in a volcano. Not surprisingly, he's not affected at all by either the lava itself or any of the intense heat. Of course, he is Godzilla.
  • In the movie Danger Diabolik, most famous for being the subject of the final episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the eponymous character dons a protective suit near the end to keep him safe as he melts down a large bar of gold. He claims that in such a suit he could swim through the sun (though he doesn't say so, he presumably means he could survive the ordeal as well). While this itself is fairly stupid, one has to take notice that there is a noticeable gap between the bottom of the visor and his helmet, as if he didn't shut it properly. Although this does not appear to present a problem when he is later sprayed with molten gold and survives.
  • The 2005 movie House of Wax has the main characters escaping from said house as it melts and burns. Not bothered by the heat at all.
  • In Spider-Man 2, Doctor Octopus builds what is effectively a miniature sun. Characters standing a few feet away show no signs of feeling the heat.
    • Although the description of a fusion reactor in Spider-Man 2 is bad, it's still not as bad as in the movie The Saint where a fusion reaction is contained in a glass jar. Stars are powered by fusion reactions. Stars in general are not known for their utter lack of heat.
      • That was cold fusion, which doesn't actually 'work' but that's how you're supposed to do it in real life: Electrodes in a glass jar.
  • The infamous Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie Raptor Island features a scene where the female lead runs across a tree over a river of lava.
    • It's also a good thing air doesn't conduct heat-- at least in that movie, apparently, since that's the meaning of "convection." (Also there's heat-radiation).
  • The climactic battle in Dr. No takes place in a room being flooded with coolant from a nuclear reactor. Dr. No survives long enough in the superheated coolant to desperately claw for a way out even when submerged above his head, and James Bond, of course, is unharmed despite being mere inches away from the coolant.
  • The title character of Shrek and his donkey sidekick walk across a rickety bridge over a boiling lake of lave without seeming to feel any heat.
  • Subverted in the Silent Hill movie--a character dies from heat exposure while hanging above an open flame, and is later shown as a burned corpse.
  • Toy Story 3. Not that we're complaining.
  • The entire ending of Congo.
  • The Land Before Time had a scene that fits the trope description to a T, right down to floating rock islands that could be jumped on by dinosaurs.
  • The climax of The Jungle Book 2 apparently takes place inside an old temple that's for some reason built inside a volcanic pit. Mowgli, Shanti, Ranjan, Baloo, and Bagheera actually lure Shere Khan inside the temple, where they attempt to distract the tiger by hitting gongs, but when that doesn't work, they simply throw Khan into a pool of lava. Khan survives the fall, thanks to a rocky ledge overhanging the lava, but is immediately trapped inside a giant stone tiger head that also fell inside the pool of lava. As soon as the heroes leave the volcanic temple, the vultures arrive...


Literature Edit

  • In the first Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the giant Foamfollower carries Covenant across Hotash Slay, a river of lava. Foamfollower, being a giant, is immune to fire and so can withstand the heat of the lava; Covenant, however, should have been fried before Foamfollower even stepped into the river. There is some effort at Hand Waving this - it is implied that Covenant's ring is involved - but still, it's fairly ludicrous.
    • Well, Covenant is torn between believing that the Land is real or the opposite. It could use some lampshading.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novels, explicitly invoked and averted. Once Cain claims that a plasmabolt missed him by a millimeter. In a footnote, Amberley points out that he would have suffered flash burns that close, so he was wrong about the distance.
  • Averted in Animorphs #34 when the team visit the Hork-Bajir homeworld and cross over a seriously deep chasm - as in, so deep they can see the core of the planet.

 Ax: <You do not have to worry about the lava, Cassie>

Cassie: "Thanks, Ax."

Ax: <If you fell, I believe you would be incinerated before you hit the actual magma.>

Cassie: (narrating) Sometimes I think hanging around Marco so much has given Ax a totally twisted sense of humour. Very un-Andalite.

    • The same joke is used again (or before?) in the Hork Bajir Chronicles".
  • Journey to The Center of The Earth. The protagonists are lifted out of Hollow Earth by riding up an erupting lava tube on a raft of fossilised wood (it's even more silly in the 1959 movie where they're using a large metal altar dish).
  • Brutally and repeatedly averted in The Dresden Files, where fire magic almost always heats the air and sets nearby objects ablaze. In one case, a vampire used a flamethrower on Harry in a tight corridor, and he used his shield bracelet to deflect the napalm - but the bracelet only stopped the napalm jelly, while the heat from the jelly proceeded to roast his hand to the point that even with his wizardly Healing Factor, it's still somewhat limited in use and covered in scar tissue for the rest of the series so far. Harry mentions on several occasions that summoning and directing fire requires a lot of force in order to make sure everything that's not the target doesn't get incinerated, and once that force is released, you'll still have to deal with the convection issue.
  • In the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Luke once walks through lava to impress a prospective student. He's stated to be using the Force to direct the heat away from his feet, so it's not much of a stretch to assume that he includes the rest of his body.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Q&A, the away team find themselves maneuvering through a lava field by jumping from rock to rock. Science officer Kadohata points out that the heat should be affecting them even if they don't touch the lava, but stops once security officer Leybenzon asks her is she's complaining that things should be more difficult. (The planet was created by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, and works however they want it to.)
  • In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, Roger is not burned by nearby lava. Justified because it's his imaginary world, and he hadn't thought of whether it would kill.
  • Averted in French Sci Fi novel Malevil. The cast is celebrating in a cool 55º Fahrenheit castle cellar when World War III occurs. Within a minute the cellar is an incredible 150ºF. Emmanuel is struggling to breathe and strip off his clothes when he realizes the flagstones he's lying on are burning hot. He realizes with horror that the stone cellar may soon function as a stone oven and broil them all alive, it doesn't occur to him to consider what temperatures outside the insulated underground chamber must be like.
  • Averted in Low Red Moon by Caitlin R Kiernan, where a character magically creates an orb of light above his palm. The main character notices that his companion's hand is blistering and burning as he continues to maintain the light. Yes, children, light creates heat.


Live-Action TV Edit

  • Top Gear decided to see how close a car can get to an active Volcano. Observe here, skip to 11:00.
    • Also, when they went to Iceland to start their trip to the North Pole, James had a hard time standing within ten feet of a coagulated lava flow. [1]
  • Subverted on MacGyver. In the episode "Flame's End", the villain has locked him and a companion in a room at a nuclear power plant and he plans to flood it with the reactor's coolant water. Mac's companion points out that convection alone is going to kill them long before they have a chance to drown, scald, or be irradiated to death.
  • Played straight on Doctor Who episode "The End of the World". Solar heat is shown to be a terribly lethal thing to let through, with special sun visors to block it out. But when the visors come down, the victims have plenty of time to scream and DUCK to avoid them (with mixed success, depending on the room and whether the Doctor is nearby). The walls seem to stand up to the energy reasonably well, too.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Basics, part II", the "don't touch the lava" rule is very much in effect when, during an evacuation from a volcanic eruption, Chakotay rescues an alien girl who's somehow gotten herself stranded on a piece of rock.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale includes a scene where Q takes Picard back to primeval Earth. There are flaming pools of lava all around them, but Picard doesn't even seem to sweat. (Maybe Q shielded them from it?)
  • In an episode of the original Knight Rider, the car runs over a lava spillage not once, but twice. The tires are a little melted, but the Magical Impregnable Alloy protecting KITT is just a little dirty. You can see it here in all its... glory?
  • Myth Busters once tested firewalking over charcoal. The build team found out that coal is actually a decent insulator; the top being much cooler than the underside, and that the proper technique is a casual walk. This is because when running, more weight is concentrated on less area, causing a persons feet to dig into the coals; potentially causing severe burns.
    • It's a favorite trick of "life coaches" to demonstrate firewalking over wood or charcoal. Ask them to repeat the feat with a comparatively cooler metal plate.
  • An episode of Eureka deals with a miniature sun springing into being over the title city, creating an unending, superhot day. It keeps growing and getting hotter until it collapses a silo, melts the tires on a Jeep and fries the circuitry on a rocket. No people suffer any ill effects worse than sweating, and the idea that a small sun might cause a fire in the forest it's hovering over is never even mentioned.
    • Another episode features a giant artificially created pocket of magma somewhere under the city, which could pop up anywhere unless Carter diverts it into the nearby lake. Having done so, the lava spurts out of the tunnel he made and into the lake... while Carter stands right next to it, making his usual pithy comment.
  • Subverted by Mike Rowe in Dirty Jobs. Standing at least 20-30 feet away from a fresh lava flow, he remarked that "insanely hot was an understatement; it was hotter than hell". They had to get into special suits to get close, since the radiant heat was enough to burn their skin but seeing as the show centers on appreciating just how difficult everyday jobs are and strives for every aspect this is not too surprising.
  • In the Sanctuary episode "Pax Romana", two characters in insulation suits (which leave much of the head and hands exposed) leisurely execute a medical procedure surrounded by molten rock a few meters below. There's a dramatic close call where one of them falls extremely close to the lava. Sadly, her hair fails to start smoking.


Music Edit

  • Completely subverted in the video for "Just Got Lucky" by Dokken; George Lynch really did play that solo in front of an active volcano, and even though they weren't very close to it he says it was hot enough that he could feel it though his shoes.


Multiple Media Edit

  • Several characters in Bionicle participate in the sport of lava surfing with no adverse effects. Handwaved in that they're cyborgs, most of whom have some form of heat resistance.
    • Only Matoran of fire, who have a greater heat resistance, do it for sport. Other characters surf on lava only if needed to escape. It was also mentioned that Toa of fire could survive a few seconds in lava. No one thinks that it is stupid to surf for sport on a liquid which kill you if you fall.
    • Played very straight in the movie Mask of Light, wherein Takua (not a Fire Matoran) fishes the eponymous mask out of a lava flow with his bare hands, and only feels the hotness after holding it in his hand for a moment. Then, he hops onto his comically frail lava surf board... on all fours, with his fingers clinging onto its sides (literally hanging into the lava), but suffers no ill effects.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Averted in Dungeons and Dragons, where extreme heat or cold will damage you if you get too close to its source. Falling into it merely deals a great deal more damage.
    • Not only that, but the game includes rules for related things like hypothermia, sunstroke, sandstorms and forest fires. Notable in that you can't outrun a forest fire, and smoke inhalation from a fire (or lava or volcanic vent) at first damages you, and then is quite capable of killing you. You don't even want to consider attempting to assault the red dragon's volcano lair without magical protections against the heat effects, or else the superheated air will kill off a party long before even seeing said dragon.
    • Played straight however with certain spells. If a wizard casts a fireball spell and you are 20 feet away expect to take up to 10d6 damage, more than you'd get from sticking a foot in lava. If you are 20 feet and 1 inch away? You're fine. Possibly justified as being intentionally designed that way by whoever invented the spell, allowing you to roast enemies while not harming your allies. It is magic after all.
      • That, and it would be a massive pain in the ass for the DM and players to deal with concentric damage rings (or worse, a linear damage scale formula based on range) for everyone involved each time a wizard pops an AoE. For reference, Shadowrun grenades do have varying damage based on the victim's location from the explosion. It's a massive pain in the ass.
    • In what has to be one of the weirdest things about gameplay, an "Unearthly Heated" environment (anything over 211 F) deals 3d10 fire damage a round. Physical contact with magma? 2d6. Granted, total immersion deals ten times as much damage as simple contact, but when was the last time a character survived being * dunked* in lava long enough to be considered totally immersed, with charting HP still relevant?
      • The logic behind this is as follows: contact is defined as physically touching the lava with your arms or feet, while superheated air affects the whole surface of your body. Thus, the damage is much larger, since the area affected by burns is also much greater. Total immersion means when you jump or fall into a pool of lava.
      • Anyone level 6 or up in D&D 3.5 is literally superhuman. (Anyone level 11 or up is literally legendary enough that magic itself takes note of them.) How is surviving a swim in lava at an appropriately high level an issue? D&D is not meant to simulate real world human abilities at all, except at very low levels. Sufficiently high skill checks are explicitly stated to allow you to rape physics out of sheer skill.
      • The latest edition's rules for falling into lava are simpler. You die. Well, except when they're not: in several published adventures, lava simply deals 10-20 points of damage per round, which is survivably even for a first-level character.
  • Averted and played straight in the various versions of GURPS. There is a spell, "Heat", that raises the temperature of an object or area by 20F per minute. Averted in the spell note that the heat radiates away normally, so "if you were in a jail, you might melt your way through the bars, but the radiated heat would probably broil you first"... then played straight in that Game Masters are explicitly told not to turn the spell into a physics exercise.
  • Played painfully straight with the Hero Clix Muspelheim map. It includes special rules for squares containing lava, which basically allow a character to walk over it in complete safety, just so long as they don't end up standing in a lava square at the end of a turn, which will deal a pittance of damage. Admittedly, it is based on the superhero genre, so it's not like accurate physics was its top priority.


Video Games Edit

Countless video games have Lethal Lava Land levels that you don't lose health for just being in. For example:

  • Averted in Star Fox 64. The sun/molten planet (the games are inconsistent on this) Solar's heat will damage your Arwing just by being in the area.
    • Some Star Fox Adventures levels contain lava, none of which is harmful to be near, but which causes damage for as long as Fox stands on it.
  • In Super Mario 64, you can jump great distances, land in lava, and only lose three hit points.
    • You can also grab onto and climb metal poles and gratings that are partially submerged in lava, and/or have just emerged from lava, without taking damage.
    • In fact, Nintendo has used this trope in nearly every Mario game since his early days on the NES. At the very least, it used to kill you instantly.
      • Although fun fact, the very first Super Mario Bros game treats the lava exactly like red water, it's not the fall contact that kills you, it's falling through it down the bottomless pit that kills you. Now, it just makes Mario run around like an idiot for three seconds, grabbing his butt and screaming "AAAAHHH - hothothothot!" It's a toss-up as to which fate is worse.
    • In Yoshis Island, the first leg of "The Very Loooooooooong Cave" has flowing lava on the floor and icicles on the ceiling. Of course, said icicles are entirely stable until you get close to them.
    • New Super Mario Bros Wii raises the bar with a level that has a pool of lava below you coming in waves, and a pool of lava above you also coming in waves. The upside-down lava was in Super Mario 3 as well, but here, even veterans are guaranteed to have Mario coming within pixels of the lava without getting too hot (if the lava does touch you, it's an instant kill).
    • One part of the final level of the original SMB featured Cheep Cheeps jumping in and out of lava. Though it features an underwater section as well, but it only featured Bloopers.
  • There are several examples from the Mega Man games. These can be handwaved by the fact that Rock, X, and Zero are all robots; Rock is described as being made of titanium, which has a melting point of 3,034 degrees Fahrenheit, beyond lava's temperature which peaks at about 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • The problem here is that even though they are unaffected by the convection, lava is still an instant kill for some reason.
    • ROM Hack Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity plays this straight in Pharaoh Man's level and averts it in part of Dust Man's: you get a temperature gauge, and you take damage when it fills up completely.
  • Devil Survivor has the boss fight against Jezebel: in order to fight or even approach her, the heroes have to cross a scorching lava pit...while it's understandable that demons and heroes who cracked the proper skills to resist or absorb the Fire element don't get damaged or get healed, it still fails common sense that they can walk on the lava by merely getting some damage each turn. And without sinking to boot!
  • In Digital Devil Saga 2, the final dungeon is the sun. Admittedly you're dead already, after a fashion, but still... It doesn't help that the sun is apparently a purple labyrinth populated by scores of monsters, the souls of the dead, and God.
  • The final level of the first Sly Cooper game had Sly hopping from object to object so close to lava that his fur should have caught on fire.
  • Many Sonic the Hedgehog games feature some variety of Lethal Lava Land, some of them near or in active volcanoes. The heat is never an issue, and you only get injured if you touch the lava. Sonic the Hedgehog had Marble Zone. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had Hilltop Zone and Metropolis Zone. Sonic 3 and Knuckles had Lava Reef Zone, where the second boss battle happens while the player is standing on a small rock in a huge pool of lava. One level of Sonic Adventure has the player piloting a robot around inside a volcano and not being affected by the heat at all, although given who built it, it probably wouldn't be beyond Robotnik to account for heat.
    • Two non-lava examples from Sonic 3: In Angel Island Zone, the jungle burns down around Sonic, Tails and Knuckles (at one point, the entire screen is engulfed in flames), yet the character doesn't seem bothered at all. Near the end of Launch Base Zone, Sonic is very close to the rockets on the bottom of the Death Egg when it launches; again he's unhurt.
      • Also in Sonic 3, the fire shield is an item that grants the player this as an ability, taken to an extreme - no fire/lava/magma in the game hurts if you have it, but it goes away if you touch water. Naturally, this makes many bosses (which have flames of some sort protecting the underside, and a couple of which use fireballs to attack), as well as Lava Reef much easier. Sadly, it only appeared in Sonic 3 & Knuckles.
    • Sonic Unleashed takes it to a very silly level as the entirety of the endgame takes place within the planet's mantle with absolutely no indication that such heat has any impact on the characters or structures at all.
      • Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 also ventures over here with the Flame Core stage, which is about as guilty as Resident Evil 5's interpretation of the trope (you have to hopscotch across cooled molten rock, floating down the lava falls; no one seems affected by any of it).
    • As does Sonic Rush Adventure, whose final level also takes place deep underground.
  • Exception: The Metroid series, where you'll incur constant, significant damage from being in a hot area without the Varia armor upgrade. In the Prime series, your HUD will also warn you that your life-support system is in danger of failing due to overheating.
    • Moving from environment to weaponry, the Plasma Beam in MP3: Corruption exhibits conduction effects as well. Shooting most things will cause them to heat visibly; hit a heat-sensitive target (ice, some metals) and the target melts, along with anything else heat-sensitive in proximity to the target.
      • In the first Prime, if you fire your power beam rapidly, there will be visible distortion as hot air rises from the end of your gun. Neat.
    • Fusion also applies the aversion to areas of extreme cold. Without the Varia suit mod, Samus takes the same damage in sub-zero areas (Sector 5, Subzero Containment) as she does in super-heated areas (Sector 3).
    • Zero Mission, at first glance, seems to play it straight more often than not. Whereas in Super and Fusion, practically any room with lava in it is considered super-hot, numerous rooms in Norfair with 'lava' present allow you to run about without the Varia suit as long as you don't touch the 'lava'. A closer examination of these rooms reveals, however, that the 'lava' is in fact acid.
    • In both Zero Mission and Super Metroid, having both the Varia suit mod and the Gravity suit mod allows Samus to move unharmed through lava. In Super Metroid (which first distinguished lava from acid, the first being solid orange, the latter watery bubbling yellow), acid is still impossible to enter without losing health rapidly, but Zero Mission has this combo grant immunity to lava and acid both. Of course, it also has the Varia suit grant the lava immunity and the Gravity suit doesn't work until near the end of the game, after the Zero Suit section has been played through.
  • In Mass Effect 2, you visit one planet whose sun has become extremely unstable and is currently in a state of extremely high radiation output. Standing in open sunlight will immediately make your armor start to smolder and burn your skin, but standing in any shadow provides perfect protection (at least for the 20 minute stay on the planet). Supposedly it's the radiation and not the heat that is lethal, but even when standing right next to a glaringly bright surface you are completely protected inside the shadow of a small crate.
  • The Melty Molten Galaxy level in Super Mario Galaxy takes this to an extreme: the platform you're on will turn red-hot as it sinks into the lava, but Mario won't take any damage. Apparently, not even conduction of heat through metal is a problem.
  • Doom is all over the place with this trope. Part of the issue is the way the game handles floor types: what the floor is made of and whether or not it damages you (and by how much) are stored separately for each section of floor, meaning some levels have lava that doesn't harm you at all. Even for levels that have regular damaging lava, the lava only damages you if you wade in it for more than a full second.
    • It should be noted that this is par for the course in Hell, which is supposed to be full of fire that burns but doesn't consume. However, for levels that take place on Phobos, Earth, or Io there's no excuse.
  • In the SNES port of Prince of Persia, you drop from the tower a hundred feet or so into a volcanic cavern and grab onto a ledge (see Not the Fall That Kills You). As in most games, you don't feel the heat unless you touch the lava.
  • Lampshade Hanging in the computer game No One Lives Forever 2, where the player overhears a conversation between two of the villain's hench-scientists discussing the "synthetic lava" one has invented, and which fills large parts of the cave you are in. The temperature of "only 300 degrees" makes it much more manageable.
  • In Dungeon Siege II, about half the final boss fight takes place with two thirds of the room covered in lava. And in this one, even standing in the lava isn't that big a deal.
  • Of course, there are many examples in Final Fantasy.
    • In the first Final Fantasy, not only could you only be hurt by standing in lava, you were only hurt when you moved, allowing you to stand in lava pools indefinitely. Not only that, but standing in lava actually prevented monsters from attacking, making it far safer to walk around in lava pools then standing on solid rock.
      • Bah. Everyone knows that time doesn't pass in an 8 bit or even a 16-bit RPG when you are not moving, which explains the "don't get hurt if you don't move" mechanic perfectly. What isn't so well explained is how you can open up menus, use healing items, and STILL not get hurt until you start walking again.
        • Because in an 8-bit RPG the menu is functionally a pause button.
    • Final Fantasy III doesn't prevent random encounters, but the damage for walking through it is minor enough that it doesn't matter. Particularly jarring in the remake, which shows you wading through the stuff.
      • In the original, lava is just palette swap of water. It doesn't even hurt you when you get in (though "lavafalls" will, as they're recolored "waterfalls" which hurt you as well). In the remake the lava does hurt you, but only for a tiny bit. But different from the first one, it actually hurts you over time instead of just when you walk.
    • Final Fantasy IV averts this . The airships can't fly over magma flows in the Underworld without reinforced mythril-plated hulls.
    • Same thing in Final Fantasy V, though a Geomancer class exists that allows even that damage to be ignored.
      • Granted, the Geomancer is a class who's whole purpose is manipulating the elements with magic. Who's to say that that ability isn't part of the magic, as they cool it by freezing the air around them or something.
    • And in Final Fantasy VI, while falling into lava pits sends the party back to the entrance of the room, it doesn't cause a single point of damage.
    • One of Final Fantasy VII's most famous scenes relies on this. Cloud is able to run around and into burning houses, and stay in the middle of the smoldering town square with little trouble. Also, given how dense the fire is and the percentage of the material burned that is wood, Sephiroth's famous exit should have been nothing but a screen full of smoke and ash.
      • On a more subtle note: Sephiroth's hair didn't so as budge.
    • Final Fantasy VIII has one of the more glaring uses of this trope well within the first half hour of gameplay. Squall and Quistis journey to the Fire Cavern, a vast underground cave with a narrow rocky path mere centimetres above a sea of churning magma as far as the eye can see. Despite this, the pair can fight their way to and defeat a low-level GF without breaking a sweat!
  • In Chrono Cross: the party is able to climb Mount Pyre's ledges and rock bridges within a few feet of flowing lava without succumbing to the poisonous gases or incinerating air, but if you step into the lava for any portion of time you immediately begin losing hit points.
    • It's actually superheated water (thus why it's clear and the Ice Breath freezes it), which is a little better. As for why a volcano is filled with flowing rivers of hot water... yeah, ya got me.
      • Thermal springs. They're pretty common around volcanoes.
  • In Batman: Arkham City Batman infiltrates an active steel mill via a smokestack, and has to navigate around molten steel with no real ill-effect, save for falling into it. However, hot steam from busted pipes can hinder your progress later on.
  • The Mario Party series has had a number of minigames that have the players inside volcanoes or on platforms surrounded by a sea of lava, which is never a problem so long as they don't touch the stuff. The fifth party even had a minigame at the surface of the freaking sun.
  • In Age of Empires III, there is a level that takes place in the Andes Mountains where your units constantly lose hitpoints if they remain out in the cold except in certain areas away from the cold winds.
  • This was used again in the War Chiefs expansion on the Valley Forge level.
  • In the PC version of Alien vs. Predator, as the Predator you have an area in a factory with molten metal. Not only can you stand near the fiery pits without taking damage, but when using heat vision, the area is only partially highlighted, whereas it should completely blind the sensors.
    • Again in the 2010 game, in which the player-controlled Predator and the Alien Abomination are fighting in a magma chamber. Then again, we've seen Aliens survive having molten lead poured on them and Predators are superhumanly tough. The Marine also sees this area, but is roughly a hundred feet up in a mostly separated chamber.
  • A particularly odd use of this trope can be found in Tomb Raider: Anniversary. The final levels of the game have pools of lava, but you are fine if you don't touch it, despite the HEAT THAT CAN BE SEEN RADIATING THROUGHOUT THE ROOM. At points, it's even hard to see, due to heat distortion, and you still take no damage even within inches of it. You can also climb on red hot poles sticking out of the lava. When you fall into the lava Lara sinks.
    • The original Tomb Raider even had Lara come into contact with lava trails and molten rocks and not get hurt by it. Then there's Natla, who actually falls into a lake of lava on screen and comes out no worse for wear.
  • In World of Warcraft the Dwarven city of Ironforge is centered on a huge forge area with massive amounts of lava/molten metal on both sides of the crafting area. Even if you fall in, you have to be almost level 1 to worry about death.
    • Lava takes a set percentage of your health, you can swim around in it for about 40 seconds before it kills you, regardless of your level.
      • The path to Molten Core and Blackrock Depths involves a lengthy walk down giant chains suspending a rock tomb over a large lava pit. Its cool the first time, but most players opt to jump into the soft lava as a shortcut.
    • There is also the lava ground texture that you can walk on with no ill effects. Searing Gorge and Burning Steppes even have some "lava falls" that you can stand under with no worries. Shadowmoon Valley's lava has the added benefit of being green and evil.
    • For the opposite, there are the snow levels, which don't require any special gear. Not such a big deal in Northrend where the gear is themed appropriately, but low level characters in Dun Morogh will be wandering around in the snow wearing nothing but skimpy level one rags.
    • The above is also valid for characters wearing mail and plate in Winterspring, which as the name suggests is a cold zone. Where your female night elf warrior wears a Stripperific metal armor that doesn't seem to be very well padded where the skin touches the metal. Frisky.
    • And let's not forget the king of fire and fire elementals, Ragnaros, a being MADE of lava. Who can be melee attacked by people standing a foot away with metal weapons and only hurts them if he directly attacks them or uses a special attack.
      • Although in earlier patches the melee weapons would be damaged by hitting Rags and would eventually break. One of those things that makes sense but is so annoying in-game that they drop it.
    • In the Molten Front, there are lots of pools of lava, but they don't follow the percentage-based damage model. A level 85 (max level at the time of writing) character takes so little damage from standing in them, that it's often to your advantage to fight lava worms in the pools, to avoid the giants that are also walking around.
  • Street Fighter IV has a battle backdrop that involves a giant, active volcano that has turned the sky red. Even at the distance the characters are at from the eruption, they still would have suffocated from the heat, smoke, and ashes.
    • Not to mention, in the intro, two of the characters are battling each other on falling rocks INSIDE the freaking volcano.
    • Eternal Champions has a similar stage, set on a rock outcropping near an erupting volcano and lava flow.
      • Street Fighter III: New Generation has lava actively churning in the background in the final stage, just feet away from the battle. Nobody takes damage, none of it spills onto the ground.
  • In Narbacular Drop, the spiritual ancestor to Portal, you can ride "lava turtles", with only one foot of... something... separating you from the actual lava.
  • Used in Urban Chaos: Riot Response. In the fire levels (where you have to go into a building that's on fire. The enemies are called Burners for a reason) you don't take damage from the heat. You cough a lot in the smoke rooms unless you have your BREATHER (Caps are proper) on but of course smoke is the more visible secondary effect of fires.
  • Averted in The Bards Tale: depending on your actions, either one of Chosen Ones goes to a chest on a stone island in a middle of room full of lava, and promptly catches on fire just by being there; or, the Bard explains him that this would happen if he goes there.
  • In the Thief games lava is harmless as long as you tiptoe around it, but coming into even the slightest contact with it will kill Garrett instantly. This is taken to an even more ridiculous extreme in the Thief Gold mission "The Mage Towers" where the interior of the Fire Tower is built almost entirely out of metal and there's a huge lava pool sitting right smack in the middle. In addition to convection, shouldn't the intense heat conduct through the metal and immolate any non-mages on contact?
  • Treated somewhat schizophrenically in Guild Wars. Lava isn't that huge a deal, and running in it will only cause you to take burning damage. This is true for pretty much the entire endgame of Prophecies (The final boss fight is in a volcano's caldera!), several PvP arenas, and much of the endgame of Eye of the North. The Desolation in Nightfall however consists of many, many sulfurous flats that are fatal within seconds to step on.
  • Taken to a ridiculous extreme in the Underworld stage of Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360. The usual rules of the trope are applied, made even sillier by the fact that you're running around on molten rock in socks. But you can fall into deep lava-which very slowly damages you-and SWIM IN IT LIKE IT'S WATER.
    • That's because he's a ninja. The same also applied to the previous game.
  • Lovely scene in Myst III: Exile. Not only can you stand comfortably on a platform inches above a room filled with lava, but after the lava drains away, the floor and all surfaces are instantly cool enough to touch.
    • Slightly justified within the Myst series in that the worlds visited are alternate realities where the normal rules of science aren't always perfectly in line with our own. A lot of bizarre forces (i.e. anti-gravity) and other mechanisms are controlled by instant on-off switches, and this state of affairs isn't helped by the Chicken and the Egg nature of Linking Books being "written" by someone creating what they want to visit, but apparently also just connecting to a world in the multiverse that happens to randomly have the things written.
    • Worse yet in Myst IV: Revelations in the Age of Spire, but again this may be forgiven if physics in that world just doesn't work normally.
  • Escape from Monkey Island features a log flume on lava. Not that the game takes itself very seriously.
    • The Curse of Monkey Island also has a roller coaster that dips into lava. When the riders plunge into it, they come out as undead skeletons. Their cart is still fine, though.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion, Oblivion is an alternate dimension has lava that doesn't hurt you unless you swim in it, and even then, high level characters can last a long time. Possibly justified in that it's basically a hell dimension, and one character points out that while you'd expect it to be hot with all the lava, all he feels is a deep chill.
    • In the first game of the series, The Elder Scrolls Arena, swimming in lava required some serious fire protection. But levitating just above it was OK. And yes, lava there was definitely lava.
    • In The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind, there are pools of lava in and around the active volcano which dominates the landscape. These only deal damage if you touch them, but even then not much; enchant a few items with constant healing effects, and you're perfectly safe to wade through lava to get wherever you want to go. The entire endgame takes place inside said volcano (though at least the final part of the endgame takes place high above the lava).
    • Oblivion and Skyrim have the same problem with cold. You can run around stark naked in a blizzard with no problems whatsoever. Morrowind is the same with the Bloodmoon expansion, and Daggerfall takes it one step beyond by actually allowing you to go stark naked in a blizzard, rather than just stark underwear.
  • In Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, there is a lava river running through the otherwise totally frozen over Cania. Oddly, it's averted the other way around; you do take cold damage in Cania unless you're near pretty much any fire except the lava river above.
    • You're also in hell, so normal laws of physics may not apply.
  • Somewhat bizarre in La Tale, not only will lava not hurt you unless you touch it, but you can sit in it and regain HP faster than the lava takes it away.
  • Lava or the "molten metal" on board the Marathon ship only damages you if you directly touch it, but the green slime on board the Pfhor ship damages you while you're jumping over it.
    • The coolant liquid encountered in the sequels might be justified assuming that it's corrosive rather then super-hot.
    • Also averted in that you are a Cyborg Proto-Master Chief/Spartan who can use grenades and rockets like a super jump. Fire's only bad if you're a squishy meatbag.
  • In Tales of Hearts, where you not only enter the volcano, you are repeatedly required to grapple yourself directly over lava flows.
    • Subverted in Tales of the Abyss. It's possible to be hurt by lava flows inside Mt. Zaleho, either by waiting for the path to clear of lava or by using the Team Pet's ability to fly, despite that the party is smack-dab in the middle of an active volcano. However, the heat will take its toll on the characters in the skits, to the point where the party will accuse your spellcaster of owning air-conditioned clothes and promptly attempt to strip him.
    • Averted in Tales of Phantasia, where in the Tower of Odin, heat will rise into rooms with cracked floors (the tower is on a volcano), damaging any party member without a specific Ice Charm that protects them from the heat.
    • As well s in Tales of Eternia, where the water spirit Undine protects you from the heat of Efreet's volcano. The game actually tracks Undine's health throughout the dungeon.
  • La-Mulana features lava in places, most notably in the Inferno Cavern, which, as you can guess, is full of molten lava. You don't take damage unless you swim in it, and even then it only damages you gradually. It's quite possible to escape if you're close enough to dry land. Curiously, immersing yourself in lava doesn't damage any of your possessions, although you can't access your computer/inventory without a "heat-proof case."
    • And before I forget, you can actually swim in lava without taking damage. All you need is a cape of ice. It's probably magic, but whatever.
    • On a related note, the ice cape even works if you lack the Power-Up necessary to swim in water without taking damage. This may be considered Sequence Breaking, but it gives you something to think about.
  • Lemmings one-upped this trope: the fiery levels in the original not only had lava that was no danger to the little green-haired Too Dumb to Live critters as long as they didn't actually touch it, it also had a trap that continually sprayed fire and fried them - if they landed in the middle of it. The edges (especially the forward edge) were perfectly safe. And the masonry levels had something greenish as the liquid that looked suspiciously like the cliché depiction of acid - but without dangerous vapors. Then again, it's not exactly as if the lemmings were safe because of these omissions...
    • I assumed the green stuff was water that happened to be green, possibly because it had something nasty in it. It's impossible to tell, since everything liquid and some things that aren't (like the waving vines in some Oh No More Lemmings levels) triggers the 'drowning' death rather than something more customized. As for the fire sprayers, Hitbox Dissonance may be the culprit there rather than Convection, Schmonvection.
  • Ratchet and Clank follows this trope. Particularly in Ratchet and Clank Going Commando where:
    • If Ratchet grabs an edge just above lava, he'll hang there in lava up to his knees and take no damage.
  • Quake and its sequels have plenty of lava which is completely safe... until you touch it. Then it's very lethal.
  • Justified in American McGee's Alice, as Wonderland is entirely inside the heroine's own mind.
  • There's a particularly jarring example in Wild Arms XF. One character jumps into the lava to hold up a portion of collapsing bridge while the other character clammers to safety. He has time to given an entire speech about his political views before dying while standing knee deep in lava.
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in the last two levels of the eleventh Touhou game, Subterranean Animism. In the fifth level, you fly amidst the fires of Hell, which are portrayed as an endless sea of towering flames that seem to be just below you the entire time. Naturally, being right above them doesn't burn or affect either of the playable characters at all. The final level is even more ridiculous, as the heroines fly through the corona of a second sun created by the game's final boss. Said final boss plans to use her power over nuclear fusion to melt the entire Earth away, yet when you fight her, you can get mere millimeters from the miniature suns and nuclear explosions she produces without even getting singed.
    • That said, the trope is also Lampshaded in the same game: in the composer's notes for the track to the sixth level, ZUN talks about how lava levels are pretty common in shooters, and then states, "I guess it's normal for shrine maidens to fly above lava. Crows also."
    • As for the Utsuho battle, don't forget the danmaku rule: she has no right to kill the protagonist, therefore she's using a much weaker version of her full power. (Although this bring about another question, spellcard rules were introduced since Reimu's death would spell doom for Gensokyo, but that's what Utsuho whats to do anyways, why does she follow them?) If Utsuho was going all out, Reimu and Marisa would probably quickly have been reduced to piles of glowing green ashes on the floor.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2 has several lava stages. Touching the lava kills you, the rest of the stage gives no problems.
    • And even then, you only die if you submerse yourself completely (the lava is just your bog standard Bottomless Pit). You're perfectly safe as long as part of your sprite is poking above the lava.
    • Donkey Kong Country 3 also has stages inside a factory, where the player must travel across vats of molten metal. Unlike the above example, landing on them hurts you.
  • While in Golden Sun 1 you could get heatstroke by walking through a particularly warm desert, you can walk through a volcano (Magma Rock) in The Lost Age with nothing happening to you.
    • That desert wasn't just hot though, it was very clearly stated to be EVIL.
  • Resident Evil 5 is the Most. Guilty. Ever. The final battle takes place on a lava flow. Not on the lip of a volcano or a catwalk several dozen feet above lava or even on top of a levitation barge skimming a dozen feet above lava. On the actual lava flow. You crash a stealth bomber into a pool of lava. And it just floats there. Then you get out of the plane, and have a casual gun battle on islands of rock floating in lava.
    • You might need an HDTV to see it, but if you look closely it is also raining molten lava all over the place during the entire fight. Granted, it's unrealistic lava rain (basically just normal rain but red, no ash or anything), but still it's red hot and hitting normal humans with exposed skin but they don't seem to mind at all.
    • Averted in the prototype of Resident Evil 2. The Research Facility was planned to be set on fire, and you would need a special vest to protect you from the heat.
  • Played painfully straight in Heart of Darkness. Andy, a little kid with no protective gear whatsoever, is perfectly fine climbing a few feet above a lake of boiling lava, but bursts into flames the instant he is so much as scraped by a jet of lava; the only thing that remains is a single shoe which soon falls into the lava and burns up as well. Possibly justified by the fact that the game takes place in a world where the laws of physics don't work the same way, what with shadows spontaneously coming to life and a floating island that has its own gravity.
  • Star Wars Battlefront games are guilty of this. Mustafar is available in Battlefront II, though that can be handwaved by the above explanation. Then there's Hoth (ICE planet), Rhen Var (snow and ice, including an ICE CAVE in one level in Battlefront I), Tatooine (hot, and with periodic sandstorms)...
    • On ice levels stormtroopers and rebels get cold-weather gear. The game also only depicts hectic, short battles, with lots of, y'know, running and such. It's not likely that exposure to cold would kill them that quickly. Oh, and there's a one in four chance that a given combatant will be, you know, a robot.
  • Both used and averted in the Star Wars RTS, Empire At War. There are a few planets which are volcanic (Sullust, Shola, Aeten II, Mustafar in the expansion) and planets which are covered in snow and ice (Hoth, Ilum). The only one that infantry take auto-damage on is Shola. Somehow, infantry and vehicles are immune to going over STREAMS OF LAVA (or entire rivers in the case of hover vehicles on Mustafar in the expansion). Then there's the cold on Hoth and Ilum, acid rain only affecting repulsorlift vehicles on Jabiim (repulsorlift vehicles don't work), and nobody taking damage from Tatooine heat or sandstorms...
  • As long we're talking about Mustafar: in Star Wars Galaxies, as long as you are on solid ground, you are safe from lava. However, flying over lava (even in completely enclosed vehicle) will cause damage. That's right, in Galaxies heat travels only upwards.
  • The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time both averts and plays this trope straight. While Link seems immune to the heat waving off of the lava pools and rivers in the Dodongo Caverns as a kid, when he goes into the Temple of Fire as an adult he has to wear a special magical tunic to protect himself from the heat, otherwise he'll eventually die. None of the later games, however, seem to reference this and Link goes into many more fire dungeons without harm.
    • Close examination reveals that the "lava" in some rooms of Dodongo's Cavern appears to be just really hot rocks. The room with the gigantic lava flow covering two stories is a straight example, though.
    • Using the Bolero of Fire, young Link can trans straight to Death Mountain's crater (and plant a seed to access a Piece of Heart). There is a timer on arrival that ticks down until Link leaves (another song is required, as he lacks the tools needed to escape on his own), and he will die of heatstroke if the clock runs out (aforementioned tunic is too big for him).
    • An especially jarring example would have to be in Twilight Princess, where Link is perfectly fine running around in the Goron Mines. Heck, even if you make him leap into the lava, he'll only come out about two hearts less for the wear. If you wear the Zora Tunic though - which is specifically stated to be weak against fire, Link'll still be fine running around......unless you leap into the lava.
    • Wind Waker has an especially odd example of this, with Fire Mountain. Sure you use the Ice Arrows to freeze the main spurt of lava, but it's still gotta be pretty damn hot inside. Not to mention the fact the Hero's Clothes are stated to look "too warm for the weather" earlier in the game, and yet they don't make Link overheat.
      • Also notable that in the Dragon Roost Cavern level, tossing a pot of water into a lava pit temporarily creates a floating bit of solid, perfectly-fine-to-walk on ground, which you can even ride up lava plumes on! However, the terrific animation for falling into a lava pit totally makes up for it all.
      • This gets downright absurd in one late-game dungeon where you must swing by grappling hook over a big open lava pit. At the zenith of your swing you are mere inches from the lava, and the game even applies distortion to the camera to underline just how hot the air is.
    • Spirit Tracks has plenty of the molten stuff to go around, and Link isn't affected unless he lands in it, where he loses half a heart from terminal fall respawning. With the exception of the Wrecker Phantoms, Link can ride on top of Zelda over these molten masses and neither of them will be hurt. The extra-heavy armor that Wrecker Phantoms use must be made of Goron iron...
    • Eldin Volcano in Skyward Sword has a patch in it that will set Link on fire if he tries to go through it with his standard clothes. Because a key piece for the Earth Shrine is through it, Fi suggests you run to minimize heat-related damage. There is also a passage that leads deeper - Link may require special protection, and Fi will force you to turn back if you try to go through (be thankful the key piece is NOT that way).
  • God of War: Ghost of Sparta has this in the Thera Volcano near Atlantis and other similar Lethal Lava Land based levels: Kratos can walk near small "magmafalls" (Which are like waterfalls but made of magma) without even scorching a little. Brought to ridiculous levels with Scylla (who had a strain of magma poured on her and didn't burned) or later King Midas, who is toss into a magmafall and instead of bursting into ashes he simply scream like it's hot water and then turn the whole thing into solid, cold gold. Why said gold didn't melt because of the surrounding lava remains unclear....
  • Quite possibly the most extreme example comes in The Simpsons Game, during Happy Fun Fun Video Game World. Not only do you travel mere inches from lava, but you must freeze fire themed enemies in blocks of ice and then drop said ice into the lava to form bridges. These blocks of ice never melt once placed.
  • Magical Starsign features a "Fire Planet" which, due to its proximity to the sun, can't even be approached by your spaceship without a special magical cooling system, or your ship will melt and you'll be fried. But once you do manage to get there, the heat is suddenly a non-issue, and you can walk outside your ship on the planet's surface with barely a complaint from your party members.
  • Soul Calibur 3 has a stage where you fight on a rock floating on a lava flow. Nobody even breaks a sweat.
  • Partially averted in Monster Hunter. In most areas of the Volcano level - anywhere where you can actually see lava or smoke - your character will take gradual damage unless you have protective armor or have drunk the appropriate potion. Also, you can't fall into lava, but if you stand right next to it you'll take damage anyway, potion or not, unless you have just the right combination of (even more) protective armor. However, most enemies can just walk through the lava as if it's not there.
    • The enemies that can move through lava are usually dragons, but then there are Felynes - ordinary, walking cats! One such culinary gift in the games is Felyne Firewalker, which cancels the damage from lava proximity, and since the chef is a Felyne himself, that makes explaining things a lot easier. Oh, and one job requires you to carry a Powderstone back to camp; as long as you're holding it, Cool Drink or no, you will burn!
    • On the other end of the thermal scale, there's the Tundra and similar areas, where you have to take a Hot Drink periodically or risk your Stamina depleting at a phenomenal rate. Given how much running, rolling, and blocking you have to do... be sure to stay warm.
  • Averted in Odin Sphere. There is no lava in the volcanic level, but your characters will gradually lose health if they don't consume a "Cooler" potion beforehand. Similarly, on the ice mountain, your HP will gradually decrease if you don't drink a "Warmer" potion.
  • Mass Effect features this on the lava planet Therum - walk right next to the lava, you're fine. Drive next to the lava, you're fine. Dip one centimeter of your back left wheel into the lava for a split second and -- the vehicle and all its inhabitants freeze, and it's explained that the heavily armored and shielded vehicle and its inhabitants spontaneously combusts. Characters do comment on the heat, but even then it's not within hazardous levels.
  • Jedi Academy's penultimate level is a planet half-covered in lava. At first, the game primarily averts the trope: most of the action takes place high above the lava if not inside buildings, Jaden comments on the heat the first time you're required to cross a bridge close to the lava, and the bridge itself requires heat-shields on the sides. Then, ten minutes later, Jaden is jumping across the lava on rocks only jutting half a foot out of it.
  • Averted somewhat in Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle where attempting to travel through the Furnace caverns without the Chill spell causes your party members to complain about the intense heat and lose health every few seconds.
  • In Ultima VIII: Pagan orange lava was solid but would burn you every moment of contact, and yellow lava was instant death. Nonetheless, you could walk around in volcanic caverns without any ill effects, as long as you didn't touch the lava itself. The entire Sorcerer's Enclave was built inside one such cavern, and a quest involved using the Endure Heat spell to jump from patches of floating orange lava to reach the chest at the end. It was actually possible to navigate across orange lava prior to getting this spell by throwing objects down onto it to stand on.
  • This was also played straight in the infamously flawed Ultima IX: Ascension where lava is little more than orange colored water that very slowly drains health on contact. You can even swim in the pools, though this makes a tad more sense if you use a white potion or the Infernal Armor spell. The biggest case is the town of Valoria, which makes you wonder if the townspeople's brains weren't already baked when the Guardian's column showed up. Hacki's Ultima Page describes it best:

 ...Valoria, where even the greatest coward doesn’t mind living in a volcano, and its corresponding dungeon Destard in Ultima IX. What can you say about it? On the positive side, you are finally presented with a quest that requires you to travel around several places in Britannia. On the other hand, Valoria is simply hilarious. Jhelom was destroyed by a volcano outburst, OK. So what are we gonna do? Right, we rebuild the town inside of the volcano! Bravo!

  • Very much present in Dwarf Fortress, despite its horrendously complicated temperature system. Until somewhat recently, an long-standing bug caused ice to be considered a magma-proof material.
    • Specifically, while tiles containing magma are heated to 2032°F, tiles adjacent to magma only reach 107°F; thus, any thing not made of magma-proof material will not melt as long as magma does not exist in the same square as it. Take for example a granite door (which is not magma proof) which will never melt when exposed to magma until the door is opened. Once the door is opened it will melt rather quickly since the magma is now occupying the same square.
    • Disastrously inverted with a bug in one version that caused a dwarf's body fat to melt if he was wet in a warm area. True to form, it didn't take the community long to design traps that used this effect to horribly mutilate invaders; by setting up the shortest route into the fortress to go through an area where invaders had to wade through chest-deep water, and telling the dwarves not to use the shortcut, then routing that shortcut to go through a passage warmed by lava to 132°F (hotter than fatty tissue's melting point of 110°F, and why it's now only 107°F as above)... Anything entering the heated hallway while covered in water dies a horrible death.
  • Wii Sports Resort, where apparently being inside a volcano is perfectly safe, as long as there're guardrails.
  • Part of one of the later stages of Dino Crisis 2 takes place inside an active volcano that Dylan can run around in (while wearing body armor, no less) with no problems despite coming perilously close to the lava flows.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, one of the Execution Styles involves tossing an enemy gangster into a large oven and cooking him alive. You can stand right next to the oven, hold the gangster right next to it... but as long as you don't actually toss him in, he won't take damage. Neither will you. For better or worse, you can actually see smoke wafting out, as well as hear a whooshing sound if you stand right next, suggesting that it really should be quite hot.
  • A slight aversion in classic Text Adventure Adventure (also known as Colossal Cave): heat isn't an issue, but trying to walk across a (magical) bridge across the shaft of a volcano causes the PC to die from the toxic gases unless wearing the mithril ring.
  • Quite a few Pokémon gym leaders have lava inside their gym, inside their room (in the case of the leagues), or are located near lava.
    • While not strictly a lava hazard, Magcargo's Pokedex entry lists it skin as being twice as hot as the surface of the sun. Just let this guy explain the further implications of this, especially in regard to ultraviolet radiation. A Pokémon trainer standing near a Magcargo gets 35 million times more UV radiation than an average life-form would get from the sun.
    • Then again, the Pokemon world's idea of scientific investigation is to send a ten-year-old out to catch 'em all. The fandom strongly suspects the kids themselves are writing the entries and have no sense of scale.
    • Camerupt fits into this as well, as does the aformentioned Torkoal.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl/ Platinum has Stark Mountain, which has this trope all over the place-the character is walking all around lava pools
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire has a lava pool area with one of the Team Magma grunts just making a comment about his ear burning.
      • Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia has you riding a Pokémon across pools of lava. This is made even worse by the Pokémon in question being Torkoal - basically a tortoise-shaped volcano.
  • Downplayed by Jak and Daxter The Precursor Legacy. The Zoomer (which protects its riders with a Heat Shield) slowly heats up when flying over hot rock, heats up much faster when flying over open lava, and running out of coolant can even result in the whole thing exploding. The foot-based Lethal Lava Land levels play it a bit straighter; Jak runs atop tall rock platforms over lava pits with no ill effects, but if Jak falls into a lava pool he dies before he hits the lava.
    • In Jak II and 3, you can use the Jet Board to float over some harmful substances like Dark Eco, but not lava. You'll burn up if you try.
  • Averted in Pixeljunk Shooter. Hovering near lava heats your ship, and can cause it to overheat and crash if you linger too long.
  • And now we're joined by Kingdom of Loathing, when its Nemesis Quest ends with a battle inside a volcano, complete with stepping stones across the lava. Hey, at least it lampshades it.
    • Oh hey, and if you screw up the "jump on moving stepping stones" minigame, you're allowed to start over - by swimming through the lava (like you haven't suffered worse hot damage during the game, sissy).
  • In The Lord of the Rings Online, one Big Bad has a lava moat round his throne, on the top floor of his dark tower. Players have to cross a metal grill to reach him.
  • Averted in Space Quest III, where you need to equip the Thermoweave Underwear to protect yourself from the intense heat on the Lethal Lava Land planet Ortega. (No face coverage, mind you...)
    • For extra fun, if you figure out a simple Easter Egg in Space Quest IV, you can revisit Ortega in your time machine... and die the moment you get out. No thermal underwear to save you in this game.
  • Jurassic Park for the Sega Genesis and Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues for the SNES both feature levels set inside a huge volcano, with pits of lava you must jump over. Of course, as long as you don't touch the lava, you can run around just inches from it and be perfectly fine.
  • The Xbox Buffy the Vampire Slayer game not only has Buffy casually crossing a stone bridge over lava with just a casual comment about the heat, but there's also a level fought in an active foundry with molten metal all around the place. Lampshaded in some dialogue, though.

  Buffy: What's that Giles always says? 'Stay away from fiery, molten metal. It's really hot and will kill you dead.'

  • It's interesting to note that Kyrandia (an old DOS adventure game by Westwood) has a puzzle in which there is a massive lava flow going under a bridge. Seemingly played only for drama, when your character begins to cross the bridge he catches fire and burns up painfully. To get through you need to find a scroll of freezing to turn the lava into ice.
  • Played mostly straight in the Dungeon Keeper games:
    • In the first one, you can build wooden bridges over lava and they'll last forever, and your creatures can cross them with no ill effects. Flying or levitating creatures can fly right over lava with no problems, and even creatures that happen to get knocked into lava won't die instantly, though they will take damage and die fairly quickly if they can't get out of the lava in time (except for the ones that are immune, like Demon Spawns and Hellhounds).
    • The second game at least makes an attempt to subvert the trope in that there are two types of bridges: wood and stone. Wooden bridges will burn away shortly after being built over lava, while stone will last forever, and again, creatures can cross these bridges just fine.
  • In Adventures of Lolo, there are plenty of rooms with lava and the hero is just fine. For the most part, it functions exactly like water, with one major exception; bridges built over lava will burn down, either on a set timer or after walking over it a certain number of times.
  • Tragically/Hilariously averted with the Minecraft Alpha Update 1.0.15, where lava got the ability to light nearby flammable blocks on fire. The exact point where hilarity ensued was when people loaded their saves and had their wooden houses with lava fountains burnt down. [2]
    • Also played perfectly straight (possibly even exaggerated) where the player can not only stand near or over lava without harm, they can scoop it up in an ordinary bucket and carry it around with them.
  • One of the worlds in 'King's Quest Mask of Eternity has lava strewn all about the place willy nilly. The player character can stand within a few centimeters of the start of a lava pool or traverse platforms mere inches above it with nary a point of damage. Come into contact with the lava, of course, and he dramatically burns to death. Made even sillier by the game's technical limitations, with which Connor can take a running leap over a pool of lava, accidentally land in just the very edge of the pool, stumble forward a few steps completely unharmed as he does at the end of every running leap, and then dramatically burn to death.
  • In Half-Life, radioactive material doesn't effect Gordon unless he stands in it. The fact that he's wearing a suit explicitly made to be used in radioactive environments helps.
  • Firmly averted in ADoM; not only will being in the Tower of Eternal Flames slowly roast your character to death (unless he's very fire resistant) and destroy his equipment, it will also boost his speed if he's of the reptilian Drakeling race. (Similarly, hanging around the game's only ice level will cause slow death by freezing unless you have cold resistance.)
  • Partially Averted in the Mechwarrior PC games. While lava won't cause damage unless you actually touch it, the heat of being near it makes the cooling systems that Mechs use damn near useless.
    • Heat seems to carry throughout the entire 'mech from a discharged weapon, even if said weapon is mounted on like, say, the left or right arm
      • This is because heat is cause partially by the weapon itself, and partially by the temporarily increased output from the mech's fusion reactor.
  • Jed's Brutal Bonus Level, naturally set inside a Lethal Lava Land.
  • In Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals, there's Soma Temple, a temple way out in the ocean filled with lava. Actually jumping down into it sends you back to the platform you jumped off, and leaves you with minor damage. Unless you have the appropriate skill, which negates damage from falling from high places. Even into lava.
  • In Clonk, lava is only dangerous when you swim in it. You can stand in it, as long as it doesn't go higher than your clonk's knee, there'll be no harm done.
  • Bioshock contains a short puzzle where you have to redirect lava flow to boil away a few feet of water. The lava is flowing through glass pipes, and when released just disappears along with the water... conveniently.
  • In Will Rock, many levels (like the Hepheasteum and the Underworld of Tartarus) will bring you close to the fiery, orange magma. However, as long as you don't step in it, you're sound and safe. There's, however, a red haze on the screen if you're really close to magma, suggestic heat. Then again, seen that Will is possessed by the Titan Prometheus, this may protect him from fire.
  • In Jet Force Gemini, molten steel or lava deal no damage as long as you're not explicitly standing on them, and if you're playing as Juno even that won't injure you.
  • Arachnia in Bug!!. Bug can be perfectly fine even when he is on a rock floating on a sea of lava. But once he touches the lava...
  • Color Dark Castle, the remake of the first Dark Castle, replaced the log platforms floating in water with log platforms floating in lava, essentially replacing Super Drowning Skills with this trope.
  • Runescape: Lampshaded by a dwarf in the Lava Flow Mine:

 Lava Flow Miner Dwarf: Logically, convection should make the air in this chamber hotter than an oven, and we'd all roast alive. But for some reason that doesn't happen!

  • Heretic. Episode 2, Level 4 is "The Ice Grotto". On this level, there are stretches of ice, right next to lava pits. Obviously, D'Sparil did it.
  • The final two areas of Diablo IIs act 4 are set in a Fire and Brimstone Hell. The area aptly titled the River of Fire is composed of stone platforms sitting in a lake of lava with small stone bridges linking the platforms, yet there is no gameplay effect for this. Then again, at this point in the game your character may have enough fire resistance to make Diablo's fire-based attacks a mild inconvenience.
  • The Player Character is able to walk unharmed in areas with walls made out of lava in Catacomb 3-D, and of flames in Catacomb 3-D and Catacomb 3-D.
  • Taken to it's obvious extreme in Futurama: The Game. The crew lands in the sun and they're just fine... as long as they don't touch the lava "floor".
  • Averted in this volcanic level of Bomberman Hero, where the player steadily loses health due to the heat of the lava below and must heal by entering "cooling rooms" conveniently placed inside the volcano.
  • Possibly Justified in Starcraft. The levels on the planet Char are full of lava that has no effect on any units. Of course, the Terrans are all wearing Powered Armor (we know it can survive hard vacuum easily), the Protoss have shields, and the Zerg originally evolved on a similar planet.
  • Vessel plays this completely straight. You can even run through lava splashes if you are fast enough. Though lava doesn't seem that hot in this game, as water cools it down pretty easily.
  • Twice (well, sort of twice) during Season Two of Sam and Max Freelance Police, the duo wind up stranded on a small rock outcropping surrounded by lava. As you learn when you revisit the scene later, though, it's Hell, and physics may not apply.


Web Comics Edit


Web Original Edit

  • Mounty Oum's CG Fan Film series Dead Fantasy probably takes this to its most extreme. During part II, the fighters end up on a stone raft floating down a river of lava. The raft is less than a foot thick, but does not melt or overheat. Similarly the girls suffer no problems from heat and toxic gas. Sounds pretty standard so far. Then Tifa gets knocked off of the raft. Yuna shoots Tifa to knock her onto the rocky ledge rather than into the lava, implies that falling in the lava would be a bad thing. But Tifa then proceeds to RUN ACROSS the lava, suffering no more than ignited shoes, used to deliver a fiery dropkick.
    • Used again with Tifa and Hitomi's Battle Amongst the Flames. The whole church is on fire? No problem, it just makes an awesome backdrop to the fight.
  • A particularly blatant example.
  • Lampshaded in The Way of the Metagamer.
  • Averted and lampshaded in the Whateley Universe. Team Kimba is in a holographic simulation of an evil lair inside a volcanic mountain, complete with a huge gap across molten lava to get to the Big Bad. The Smart Guy points out that even the toughest supers on the team wouldn't survive flying above the magma, and snarks that it isn't some stupid video game. But they have other resources.
  • Discussed in Cracked, as one of the 6 Deadly Injuries You Think You'd Survive (Thanks to Movies).


Western Animation Edit

  • Played straight and lampshaded in 2002 Disney's Tarzan & Jane. The heroes and Jane's father escape from inside an erupting volcano, by surfing the rising lava on a piece of rock. The lampshade is hung by one of the characters asking: "Should this even be possible?" to which another answers "Who cares, as long as it's working?". One of the most hilarious sequences in modern animation.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Averted in one episode. Jackie escapes an incoming wave of lava, but gets most of his clothes burnt off by the heat. He was very close to the lava, as well, but it wasn't there long enough for the air to heat up.
  • Futurama: The entire crew are in a room full of lava and none complain about how hot it is. In fact, Fry almost jumps in without the heat obliterating him - so long as he doesn't actually touch it, he's fine.
    • "PROFESSOR! LAVA! HOT!"
    • Then there's this gem from a commerical off-screen:

 Announcer: Next Up: The Real World: The Sun.

Participant: Ahhh! I'm burning to death!

  • Transformers and lava... Don't go there. Just don't. Some of them have actually survived a dip in the lava itself, despite it being fatal to others. Officially? Not so much as a Lampshade Hanging on this. Attempts by fans to explain this are doomed from the start.
    • Transformers Animated had Sari spraying enough boiling water in an enclosed room to kill some Space Barnacles, but wasn't scalded by the steam that filled the room or the water that would logically splashed her.
      • Apparently, robots can't get scalded in Animated, thus why Sari was safe.
    • Beast Wars in general seems inconsistent about lava. In the first episode of season 2, Terroraur and Scorponok died when the surge caused them to collide their hovering platforms and they fell into the lava. However, near the end of the series, Megatron falls into the lava after being betrayed by Quickstrike, but reappears later completely unharmed. Though, seeing as how Megatron had just absorbed the spark of G1 Megatron, he may have gained some extra durability, potentially justifying this trope. Then again, he hadn't morphed into his dragon form just yet by the time he hit the lava, so maybe it should have killed him.
      • In the same episode as Megatron, it seems like Tarantulas survives a dip in the lava too. It may have something to do with Transmetal bodies being more durable; although Terrorsaur and Scorponok were starting to change into Transmetals when they fell in, they were still in their original forms.
      • And in the season 1 episode, "Double Dinobot" a clone of Dinobot kicks a tree that Rattrap is on into a lava filled trench. The tree gets wedged high above the lava but bursts into flames from the heat, as it rightfully should. However, Rattap floats around on a rock inches above the lava and suffers no ill effect from doing so.
    • Conversely, the 2007 movie gets convection mostly right, but was criticized by fans who did not fully understand that while space is infinitely cold, the lack of convection in space means that a body in space will cool very, very slowly - much more slowly than a superheated body falling into the Arctic Ocean. In fact, the TF Wiki links to our Space Is Cold page to explain why that's not an error. See, this stuff is educational!
      • Not only does "infinitely cold" not exist (there is a lowest possible temperature), but space is several degrees warmer than absolute zero. Specifically, it's about 3 Kelvin, or -270 degrees Celsius (0 Kelvin is absolute zero). Furthermore, unless there is evaporation going on, a body in space that is in view of the Sun tends to heat up unless it's already hotter than the Sun's surface, 6000K. And, of course, if it is not in view of the sun, it tends to cool down to that 3K I mentioned, but it happens very slowly because neither conduction nor convection are possible, only radiation, and things at "normal" temperatures tend to radiate very very slowly.
  • In the second episode of the early Fleischer Superman animated series, a villain with his own foundry tries to make Lois Lane talk by slowly lowering her into a giant vat of molten iron. She shows no signs of distress, even when she falls and Superman has to grab her mere inches above the surface of the vat. (For reference, iron has a melting point of 1538 °C/2800 °F)
    • Likewise, in "Volcano" Lois is right next to molten lava and is completely unaffected, even doing a hand-over-hand climb over a field of lava without being even singed.
    • This is amended in later episodes, where Lois Lane is imperiled by fire, and passes out or is burned outright by the heat.
  • In one episode of Totally Spies, the girls can't feel the heat coming from lava... But it is really ketchup, as they are being tested. But later on the actual lava comes on, and the team makes a hot air balloon out of a parachute.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series involves Bruce Wayne battling a ninja rival on an erupting volcano. The climax of the fight comes when they are separated on the rocks and Wayne throws a rope for the ninja to catch, thinking that if he jumps while he pulls he could make it. The ninja kicks the rope away, but not before giving a look that both says "I don't want your help" and almost looks as though he is thinking "Please, don't be so stupid."
  • The trope is treated as a game of ping pong in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In "The Awakening," Aang stands on top of solid but still-glowing lava rock in bare feet without getting burned. Curiously there is a subversion in the same scene, as his wooden glider caught on fire by just being next to a lava stream that Aang had just stepped by. In a later episode, Aang, Sokka, and Toph are running through tunnels within a dormant volcano with no problem running over the rock crust that has formed over a river of magma or soaring over an underground lake of the stuff. Strangely enough, in "The Avatar and the Firelord," a major character actually dies from the toxic gases released by an erupting volcano.
    • It is possible that characters with Firebending talents are more resistant to heat and can defend against extreme heat better than others. Or even protect others from it, keep in mind that Aang is both an Airbender and a Firebender so he could maybe keep the tunnels cool enough for his Sokka and Toph? If you're a master in those elements all sorts of handwaving could be done to make it all make sense.
      • It's possible, but in "The Fortuneteller" and "The Awakening" Aang hasn't yet mastered firebending, yet standing right next to flowing lava doesn't harm him or his friends at all.
      • Given that in "The Avatar and The Firelord" Firelord Sozin redirects heat away from an active, erupting volcano to cool it, it is less of a handwave and more proven that Firebenders possess control over general heat as well as fire.
      • In season 1, when he only masters air and water, Aang is able to cool lava enough to solidify it. So airbending is probably enough to protect yourself from convection. Roku was right in the most dangerous place, that's different.
    • This trope is used far more frequently in the series in any and all instances of Firebending, for as long as the Firebender and their opponents do not actually touch the plumes of flame shooting out of their hands and feet, they're fine (though their clothing has been singed a time or two). Rule of Cool definitely applies here and most places with Elemental Powers though, as they are shooting plumes of flame out of their hands and feet.
    • In "Sozin's Comet", the Gaang is riding in a stolen airship while the other ships burn everything below. Toph, the blind girl, feels the heat radiating from below and comments: "That's a lot of fire, isn't it?". Later, Aang hides in a sphere of rock while the Big Bad pummels the sphere with fireblasts. A cut to Aang shows him visibly sweating inside.
    • "The Boiling Rock" is just straight up schizophrenic: The Boiling Rock is a prison on an island in the middle of a boiling lake in the crater of a volcano. Though not as bad as a lava pit, it should be like a constant sauna in there since it was hot enough that a hot air balloon couldn't keep in the air, yet it doesn't seem to be a real problem. However there is conduction, as regular ships can't get across the lake without getting so hot as to burn the travels: they tried an insulated boat, and the prison uses a gondola on a high rope.
      • The air conditioning in that place must have cost a fortune.
      • Or not. Avatar is as Steampunk as it gets. If the Boiling Rock's A/C is powered by heat and steam, they're sitting on a have a never ending power source. And the Cooler's could easily be the product of air conditioning. I've seen AC units frost up from overuse. How convenient would it be take that excess cold and funnel it into capsules that could be used for disciplinary reasons on firebenders. Now what this can't account for is how exactly did they BUILD something like that in the middle of a boiling volcano.
  • Darkwing Duck, his daughter, and her best friend all end up in a volcano in one episode of his series. Gosalyn and Honker get within what seems to be a few FEET of the bubbling lava while stretching a balloon for a slingshot. Handwaved only slightly later on when Darkwing carries them across a lava stream; he cites an ability he picked up from somewhere to do that without burning his feet off. And then soaks them in the water.
  • Subverted in the first episode of Ewoks. In that story, Morag has sparked a massive forest fire and dammed the river to hamper the Ewoks' attempt to fight it. Wicket suggest using Master Logray's big supply of fire foam and airdrop bags of it from their gliders. Chief Cherpa nixes that idea since the wild winds caused by the massive fire's convection currents would cause the gliders to crash into the flames. However, that complication is solved by the small winged whisties who volunteer to guide the gliders safely around the currents while still getting to the best areas to bomb.
  • Aloha, Scooby Doo features a chase through the bad guy's lair which is inside a volcano. They run all around and across the lava and, as as always, are fine so long as they don't actually touch it.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword is even worse, with an extended lava-surfing sequence on a rock.
  • An episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3 has the Koopalings trap the Mario Bros. in a cave that they then proceed to fill with lava. But Mario manages to chisel a way out through the wall so he and Luigi can climb out. Right before Mario climbs out, though, this trope is taken to the extreme by having the lava actually seem to already be up to Mario's waist before he jumps out.
    • For that matter, in the first Super Mario cartoon series, one episode had them riding a lava boat. A lava boat! No explanations on how, it's just an ordinary boat that could somehow survive lava.
    • In the later Super Mario World series, in the "Mama Luigi" episode, Luigi nearly lands in "boiling lava" after he falls for hours. Luckily he happens to land on a skull raft, and despite the long fall is uninjured, and of course unaffected by the heat, which should already have vaporized the raft. Later on we see dinosaurs actually swimming in lava. This does follow the in-game physics though.
  • Subverted in The Simpsons when they go to Japan and the family falls in the Lava on a game show. Turns out it was simply Orangeade, yet Homer continues to scream: "It burns!"
    • "It is Orangina, our sponsor!"
    • Homer continues to writhe in agony because, as George Takei mentions afterward, Orangina is "loaded with wasabi" (and orange concentrate in your eyes would burn like hell anyway).
  • Taken to ridiculous extremes in Ice Age 3, where Sid manages to raft along a river of lava then have some of it splash on him without getting at all hurt.
  • Storm Hawks a volcano goes off, and our heroes try to escape the lava flow, but their bikes are melted. Fortunately, they find a safe spot just a few feet up off of the lava. No one seems to be suffering from the heat, although one of them does use it to cook hot dogs.
    • In another episode (A Colonel of Truth) a tiny flying fox type creature falls into a lava flow, only to safely land on a floating rock.
  • In the episode "Exchange" of Kim Possible, not only are Ron and Yori trapped in a metal cage and lowered into a river of lava, the lava actually spills into the cage and sets Ron's shoe on fire by contact. Ron and Yori then survive by hanging onto the tops of the cage's bar while the entire lower half of the cage melts away until they are saved. Apparently metal has to be immersed in lava to actually heat up.
  • Gargoyles - in a fight with Oberon, Goliath, Angela, and Gabriel are able to fly just a couple of metres above the lava in an active volcanic crater with no ill effects.
    • Though the Gargoyles themselves are often shown to be made of much tougher stuff than most other living creatures, and they do turn to stone during the day. Oberon is a god, and Avalon is prevented from harming him.
  • Partially averted in an episode of Max Steel: Max and Kat are sent in to a volcano to collect a crystal, and are given heat-resistant kevlar suits, along with helmets and (possibly) an air supply. They're warned that they'd only have a couple of minutes, and do avoid the lava if possible...yet there's a layer of solid rock where they land, and handily-placed rocks in the lava leading to where the crystal is.
  • The Musical Episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold has heroes and villains forced to dance toward a launching rocket's exhaust to distract Batman; they would be getting toasted pretty well before they reached the actual flames.
  • Played dead straight in The Spectacular Spider-Man. Not only does a whole warehouse full of lava seem to do no harm to Spidey, Green Goblin, or Tombstone, but Hammerhead is precariously dangled literally inches from a vat of the stuff without even the soles of his shoes melting.
  • Hotwheels World Race. Scorchers cars are capable of crossing the lava. The protection is only at frontside (called lava plow) and wheels
  • There was an episode of The Magic School Bus where the class went inside a volcano to learn how islands are made. They were underneath the lava.
    • That's justified by the fact that the Bus has endured all manner of extreme conditions with no ill effect so long as the engine is turned on. It is the Magic School Bus after all.
  • Exactly how much the trope applies on Jimmy Two-Shoes largely depends on whatever's needed for the joke. Sometimes it will burn up people floating on it, other times the characters can swim in it.
  • The final episode of Total Drama World Tour. Oh so very much.
  • In The Road to El Dorado, the main characters are chased across a cracking layer of volcanic rock by a large stone jaguar. Lava comes within inches of splattering on them. But it must not be very hot itself, because the stone critter pops right back out.
  • In Brother Bear, Koda and Kenai traverse a field of heat (supposed to be lava...) This is impressive for two reasons: Kenai gets continuously hit by jets of steam (a la Princess Bride and the Swamp) and the nearby areas are covered in SNOW!
  • Justified by Captain Planet, who can not only swim through molten lava and be completely unharmed, but can also use it to heal himself. As dangerous as they are to humans, lava flows and volcanoes are still part of the Earth's natural ecosystem, which Captain Planet is a Physical Avatar of.
  • In an episode of American Dragon Jake Long, Jake, in order to get ahead in a race against other dragons, utilized his experiences as a boarder and used a piece of rock to ride a lava flow, and he wasn't hurt a bit--as long as he didn't touch the lava. (Perhaps justified or handwaved due to him being a dragon (and in dragon form at the time), particularly one whose inherent element was fire, but still.
  • Notably averted in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. A giant fire meteor threatens to strike Townsville. Even for most of the episode, the citizens suffer from a severe heat wave. Bubbles and Buttercup fly towards the incoming meteor to destroy it, but the intense heat simply forces them to flee (yes, not even they can stand the heat) and to search for Blossom, whose current Heroic BSOD forbids her from using her newly-gained ice breath.
  • In Cow and Chicken Red accidentally falls into a river of lava. Then notices it's not as hot as he had thought (he's the Devil, though).
  • Parodied in the Dexters Laboratory episode "Mock 5"[1], in which no one seems to really care about the raging river of lava following a group of soapbox racers. (Monkey even eats some of the lava, and doesn't react accordingly until he's told what it is.)
  • Most Egregious example: Star Wars: The Clone Wars did an episode in which a planet is apparently half lava. We don't know what took half the planet's crust off. What we do know is that you can walk within inches of pools of lava... in a cavern that would logically be like an oven with that much lava and nowhere for the heat to go. However, anything thrown into lava catches fire before it hits, a nice bit of realism... if the aforementioned oven-cave hadn't been mere seconds earlier. If the characters didn't have to cross the lava on a rope that's only a few feet above the surface and do so without harm mere seconds later. Perhaps it's production values, but in none of the episode's more ridiculous examples of this trope did anyone even sweat. Going back and forth on it like that made it crazier than anything you've ever seen play the trope straight from beginning to end.
    • Averted in another episode; things are seen catching on fire before making contact with lava.
    • This extends to the Jedi lightsabers as well. Quite often the Jedi will use their lightsabers to create passages via cutting holes through walls, floors and ceilings, leaving a smoldering hot ring of molten material around the cut. Often characters will hop right through these holes, sometimes even touching the edges with no ill effects.
  • Displayed throughout The Secret Saturdays episode "Twelve Hundred Degrees Fahrenheit". Taken to a ridiculous extent when both Argost and Drew swim through the volcano (wearing fireproof lizard-skin and a heatproof suit, respectively, but still!). Particularly egregious in Argost's case, as the lava should have seeped in through the openings in the skin (eyes, mouth).
  • The Land Before Time animated series episode "The Canyon of Shiny Stones" is all about this trope (although they do, at least, remember that volcanoes produce choking smoke).
  • Phineas and Ferb roast weiners on a passing lava flow in "Candace Loses Her Head".
  • In the Young Justice episode "Denial", the team falls into a pit, at the bottom of which is a pool of lava. A trap door closes over the lava in time to catch them (though not before taking out Superboy's boots), and while Aqualad notes that the floor should be burning hot and Kid Flash warns him that if he pulls open the trap door, the backdraft from the lava will roast them alive, neither are true. Of course, this is all due to the fact that they're in Dr. Fate's tower, and reality warped itself to their benefit after they convinced the tower they had legitimate reasons for breaking and entering.
    • Played straight in that they should have been roasted alive when they were dropped into the chimney. Except Superboy. But then, it is Doctor Fate's house.
  • Unexpected aversion in Stroker and Hoop, in one episode, where Stroker (and son) are forced to toss some items into a fiercely burning car...and do it standing several feet away, flinching and shielding their faces from the heat.
  • In the "Read it and Weep" episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, this trope is played straight by Daring-Do in her book, in which she removes the statue from its resting place á la Raiders of the Lost Ark, triggering a trap that causes the floor melts away and ne replaced entirely by a rising lava flow. Aside from visibly sweating, Daring shows no ill effects from being in such close proximity to the lava.
    • "Dragon Quest" has this in spades. Spike jumps into a Lava Pit, submerges and then spits out some lava from his mouth as if it were a swimming pool, which, for the teenage dragons that he is hanging out with, is.
  • American Dad episode "Magnificent Steven", they find lava deep beneath a certain Washington landmark and play it straight by featuring a bridge a couple feet above it while mocking it all the while:

 Steve: I can't believe there's lava under Washington, D.C.!

Stan: Where do you think all the hot air comes from?


Real Life Edit

  • Kids are familiar with this trope from a very early age. They will often pretend that the floor is "hot lava," the point of the game being to move around the room without touching the floor. This game is familiar enough to have been referenced on an early Grounded for Life and a vacation episode of The Simpsons as well as the nudist episode of Family Guy, and a mission in a Tony Hawk game.
  • Subverted a bit by the Discovery Channel.
  • In older aluminum plants, the metal is still poured partly by employees who work very close to 1300-1700°F aluminum - often as close as a foot or less distance between the worker and the aluminum. Dross is skimmed from the tops of crucibles and molds with hand-held metal skimmers. The workers wear heavy cotton gloves, double cotton sleeves and aluminized aprons to do this. While it is not the most comfortable job in the world, the protective gear does not singe or burn unless in direct contact with the metal, and the cotton is not fire retardant.
    • Further, the most important bit of safety gear: a sort of awning over the tops of your boots. Molten Aluminum can run down denim, barely scorching it (ironically, its convection acts on the water vapor to act as a temporary force-field), but bad things happen if it gets in your boots and it can't flow anywhere else.
      • Kind of brings a whole new layer of meaning to "flares", that does:)
  • Played pretty darn straight by the experience of Heimaey, Iceland, in the Vestmannaeyjar islands. In 1973, a nearby mountain erupted, sending, literally, acres of lava towards the town - and, from the inhabitants' perspective, more importantly, the harbor. In a desperate attempt to save the harbor from being filled by lava, the inhabitants, the government of Iceland, and, eventually, even the U.S. Navy, started pouring water directly on the lava to try and solidify the leading edge, hopefully sending the remaining lava somewhere else. This took weeks, if not months, and for most of that time, not only were people walking directly on top of the lava, they were separated from actual liquid rock by, at times, nothing but ash, but they were running hoses along it, and even driving bulldozers around on top of it. The treads of the bulldozers blued from the heat over time, and the soles of boots tended to melt when people stood, but for a significant amount of time, people were not only running near lava, they were working on top of it for twenty-hour-a-day stretches. Icelanders are hardcore.
    • Humorously referred on this Scandinavia And The World comic.
  • Played straight in real life (?!) with this video, complete with lava.
    • Yet also averted, given that he's not dipping the marshmallow in to heat it, and it melts quite a ways from the lava itself.
  • Not averted in weightlessness, contrary to common belief. While it's true that there is no natural convection caused by density gradients, you still need to recycle your air - this means airflows. Also anything else moving (like a person) would set up eddies. For this reason it is possible to have a candle burning in a space station without any tricks.
  • The thermal radiation is particularly harmful to a person's eyes. Looking directly into glowing lava is physically painful. If you've ever looking directly at a heating element (and you shouldn't), imagine that times thousands.
  • Averted with many living things, since most except for some species of bacteria actually cannot survive above the boiling point of water. The only place bacteria cannot survive at all is still inside volcanoes, however.
    • That's acute exposure, most cells can't stand about about 50°C in the long term.
  • Averted with the Sun, where its corona is actually much hotter than its surface, so in real life any spaceship that orbits that close will melt and vaporize instantly, killing any astronauts onboard, even if it is only a thousand miles away from the corona.
  • Averted with certain exoplanets where most scientists think that the least habitable planets for life are those mostly covered in lava.
    • Due to completely different gravitational and pressure conditions than those on Earth, some exoplanets have extremely exotic surfaces -- at least one is believed to be covered in boiling hot ice (kept solid by the massive atmospheric pressure).
  • One episode of The Magic School Bus, though being as it is an educational show, they make it a point in the ending segment that realistically everyone would have been burned alive.

Notes

  1. Which was itself a parody of Speed Racer