Thursday, June 11, 2009

Geological Movie Review of Dante's Peak - Part 7

Dante's Peak - Overview

- Rescue -
1:30:48 - ELF: Again this stands for Extremely Low Frequency and is commonly used by the US navy to communicate with submarines. Typically, to generate a signal using ELF the government needs an antenna at least 14 km long. Since there is usually not a 14 km long antenna on a submarine, they could not produce the signals. So submarines were designed to only receive signals via ELF, then they would rise to the surface to receive more complicated messages using another form of communication (INCHEM). This does not seem practical for the movie's plotline, although the reason it was used was because it could transmit through large amounts of water (and possibly land). As recently as 1993 the Navy was still discussing using a 10km long antenna to generate ELF signals in Alaska. Even then, 10 km is far longer than the equipment they were using, generating what we like to call a "plot hole". This "plot hole" is essentially busted unless change what is used to one of the other billion gadgets that can do the exact same thing they want to do in the movie without using ELF (GlobalPolicy).

- Scientific Input -
1:42:56 - The scientific advisors for the movie are John P. Lockwood, David H. Harlow, and Norman MacLeod. I feel they did a good a job conveying the scientific accuracy of the movie and still maintaining an exciting movie feel. Dr. Lockwood started his own volcanic hazard consulting firm, Geohazards Consultants International, Inc. (ZoomInfo). The only information I can find on Dr. Harlow is that he is the photographer of the first day of the Mount Pinatubo eruption (pictured in the - Vertical Eruptive Cloud - section). And Dr. MacLeod is actually a paleontologist who studies the causes of extinctions and evolutionary patterns (MegaFoundation). So overall, from what I can find on at least two of the advisors it shows that they are pretty good volcanologists to have as consultants.

- Dante's Peak (The actual volcano) -
0:06:47; 0:25:30 - What was visualized for the actual view of Dante's Peak (the volcano) varied throughout the movie. The initial view that they first used was a model that they built and superimposed behind the town, via the miracle of movie magic. This is what was used for most of the movie, except during up close-up views. For the close-ups, when they were flying over the volcano, and along the crater edge they used video of Mount St. Helens. The way they filmed the volcano, both with the model and with Mount Saint Helens, was done so well that usually one could not tell if the volcano was real or not.


  1. The only information I can find on Dr. Harlow is that he is the photographer of the first day of the Mount Pinatubo eruption


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