A new video explained what would happen to humans if Earth's crust suddenly opens up and covers the ground in lava. The video noted that this kind of disaster could happen due to a natural geological feature of Earth.
The video regarding the destructive scenario was shared on YouTube by the channel What If. The short clip mainly focused on large igneous provinces (LIP) and their effect on Earth.
Large Igneous Provinces
LIPs are geological features that occur when a massive amount of magma rises from the Earth's crust and onto its surface. Aside from covering the surface in lava, the magmatic movement could also trigger other events such as powerful earthquakes and sudden climate change.
According to the video, such an event almost happened 250 million years ago in Siberia. If it happens today, the intense earthquakes, extreme heat and flow of lava would cause extensive damage to populated areas. It could also cause mass extinctions across different species.
"Farmlands needed for raising crops would be incinerated," the video stated. "Bodies of water like lakes, streams and rivers would be vaporized if there was enough lava. And depending on how fast the lava flows, endangered species would be wiped out if they couldn't relocate in time."
Death Caused By LIPs
Like animals, the chances of humans surviving LIPs are pretty slim. On average, lava flows on a flat scope at a speed of about 10 kilometres per hour. However, when flowing downhill, lava can move at a speed of up to 100 kilometres per hour.
Since the average running speed of humans is about 13 kilometres per hour, outrunning the flow of lava is almost impossible. Aside from the lava itself, humans would also have to deal with the toxic chemicals that it would release into the air. This means that even if people manage to outrun lava, they are still in danger of dying due to its toxic fumes.
"In addition to the extreme heat, burning, melting and destroying anything it touches, lava releases particles into the air and toxic gases such as sulfur, carbon dioxide and halogen," the video explained. "Even if you can get out of the lava's path, you're still in danger from breathing the gas and particles in the air."