#PompeiiLive - making Vesuvius at the British Museum

We were very lucky to be #PompeiiLive's volcanologists, at the British Museum. Helped them to explain the processes of explosive volcanic eruptions, using some simple but engaging experiments.


  1. It all started when Iain Stewart recommended Jenni Barclay to the British Museum (BM), as they wanted to include some simple volcano experiments in their filming of #PompeiiLive for schools. 
  2. Jenni had previously worked with Iain on BBC's Volcano Live - doing something very similar - and this time I tagged along to help out...!
  3. The BM then watched a bit of volcano live, and the video below...and the excitement started to build...
  4. Jenni and I went down to London to meet with the producers and got talking. They really wanted to be able to show that the people in Pompeii and Herculaneum  would not have been able to outrun the pyroclastic surges. 
  5. We thought "what if we could somehow make something that looks like a pyroclastic surge, a turbulent rapidly moving flow driven by gas, and then try and make something outrun it?!" Enter our Roman Chariot....
  6. We reached out to a famous children's author (also involved in #PompeiiLive) to name our unfortunate roman...
  7. And so Trepidus Maximus started his short and ill-fated life. 
  8. Behind the scenes of anything fun/cool - there is always a lot of stuff...
  9. Although we do LiquidNitrogen volcanoes for open days at the School of Environmental Sciences - we still needed to practice. I guess there are some different issues with exploding liquid nitrogen in central London, compared to UEA ! We needed to get a decibel reading, and a good idea of the average distance that our play balls (volcanic tephra) would travel. 
  10. Everything went well, thanks to our 'technical director' Anna .
  11. As with all successful and engaging outreach activities - a lot of outside skilled help is needed
  12. A lot of time and thought went into everything...as we only had one afternoon of filming
  13. Filming day