Tweet of the Day: Memories in the Library
Put a volcano in fiction and it will explode. Hence the name: Chekhov’s Volcano. Of course, most of these explosions are massive yet oddly slow. That makes them threatening without being instant killers. Real volcanic eruptions run the gamut from sluggish lava flows to explosions that obliterate entire landmasses and even create entire new continents. The problem with this trope, beside its obvious predictability is that writers never do the research. They are no pyroclastic flows or pyroclastic surges. Nothing is said about the toxic environment around a volcano. Breathing in clouds full of sulfur is not good for your lungs. And of course you have the old, Convection Schmovection kicks in because everyone knows that as long as you don’t touch the lava, you will be fine. The earthquakes before and during the eruption are more common, but they hardly hurt anyone in fiction, they are just there for dramatic effect of seeing the earth crack in two.
Sometimes serves as a visual gag based of a character blowing their top in fury. Those volcanoes tend to be harmless.