Mighty Volcano

The good-ol’ vinegar-baking soda Volcano is out of control.
Kids: DON’T do this at home!!!
Take it outside!!!


31You’ll need:

For the Dough Mountain:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 4 tbs cooking oil
  • 2 cups water
  • Empty 2 L pop bottle
  • Cardboard (30x30cm2)

For the Lava:

  • 1 tbs liquid detergent
  • Red and yellow food colouring
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 3 tbs baking soda
  • Funnel
  • Warm tap water (about 0.5 L)

Mould the mountain:

  1. Mix the dough ingredients together with your hands until the dough is smooth and firm.
    You may need to add a little more water if the mixture is too dry or add flour if it’s too sticky.
  2. Place the empty pop bottle on the cardboard.
  3. Mould the dough around the bottle as a mountain, leaving the bottle open. Make sure you don’t drop dough into the bottle.

Prepare the lava:

  1. Dissolve the baking soda in the 0.5 L warm water. Mix well!!
  2. Fill the bottle with baking soda solution.
  3. Add detergent and food colouring to the bottle.

Now it’s time for the eruption:

  1. Take your mountain outdoors
  2. Using the funnel, Quickly! pour the vinegar into the bottle and STAY CLEAR!!!

How did that work?

When acid (vinegar) and base (baking soda) are mixed, a chemical reaction takes place. When dissolved in water, baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, breaks down to sodium and bicarbonate ions. Upon addition of the vinegar (acetic acid), the hydrogen ions from the vinegar react with the bicarbonate ions from the baking soda, forming carbonic acid. This acid is not stable for very long, and breaks down to carbon dioxide and water. As the carbon dioxide gas accumulates in the bottle, the pressure builds up until it erupts forcing the content of the bottle out of the volcano.

Did you know… ?

  • The biggest known volcano in our solar system is on Mars. Its name is Olympus Mons and it measures a 600km (373 miles) wide and 21km (13 miles) high.
  • The most volcanic active place in our solar system is Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. Covered in volcanoes, its surface is constantly changing due to the large amount of volcanic activity.
  • Volcanic eruptions can send ash high into the air, over 30km (17 miles) above the Earth’s surface (in 2010 Mt. Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland erupted for 6 months, sending ash 9 km up in the air forcing the closure of many air routes above Europe).
  • Large volcanic eruptions can reflect radiation from the sun and drop average temperatures on earth by around half a degree. There have been several examples of this over the last century.