So, the chemical reaction happening in your volcano is only impersonating an actual volcanic explosion, but if you wanna think big, get inspired by these guys!
Be like Rūaumoko (the Māori atua/god of earthquakes and volcanoes) and make – then explode!! – your own volcano.
What to do
Your mission is:
1. LIVING ON THE EDGE
In Aotearoa the whenua (land) we live on is at the edge of two giant tectonic plates: the friction between them produces volcanic activity and earthquakes. This mission is all about getting in touch with Rūaumoko's explosive energy (oh, and a bit of chemistry too).
Before you start check out this footage from when Mt Ruapehu let off some steam in 1996. Your volcanic explosion is 'just pretend', because you don't want to get as close as these guys did to the real thing (put your hard hat on and watch from 1min 40sec in)!
2. BUILD THE BASE
Gather the materials for your volcano out of something natural from outside: sand, dirt, leaves, mud.
Or if you're stuck inside, you could use modeling clay or papier mâché to make the foundations of your replica Rangitoto (Rangitoto was made from Auckland's most recent eruption: yours probably doesn't need to be as big!).
3. SHAPE IT UP
Get sculpting: volcanoes come in four different shapes: 'cone', (like Mt Taranaki or Ngauruhoe), 'shield' (Mt Cargill down south), 'volcanic field' (an active area producing volcanoes like Mt Eden and Rangitoto in Auckland) and 'caldera' (Lake Taupo is the massive crater of a volcano whose eruption was one of the biggest the world had ever seen).
Will you go classical cone like Taranaki or volcanic field like Auckland?
4. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Let your imagination loose on the landscape design. Think about volcanic features like craters and vents and what human features might be around: farms, towns, cities (Auckland is built on a volcanic field with dozens of cones, e.g. Mt Eden).
Will your eruption cause a lahar (a volcanic mudslide)? Lahars usually follow a river valley, so see if you can mimic a valley and you can direct the course of nature!
(Remember to leave a cup-sized hole for your crater/s!)
5. CHARGE UP THE CUP
Steal one of mum or dad's least-favourite coffee cups or a disposable cup to put inside the volcano crater – this will be the vent for the eruption.
Put 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom of your cup along with 2-4 drops of food colouring and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Congrats – you’re ready to blow!!!
6. LET IT BLOW!!!!
Make your volcano erupt by pouring a ¼ cup of vinegar in the cup. Be a good volcanologist and stand back. Fire up the camera on your phone or tablet and get ready to snap your DIY Vesuvius (that's a famous Italian volcano that popped its top in 79AD)!!
7. UPLOAD THE EVIDENCE
UPLOAD to Wild Eyes the evidence that you were there for the biggest backyard explosion since Tarawera blew its top in 1886!
Pop your volcano and make your wild eyes pop!!
Geonet are the organization that monitor earthquakes in NZ. Can you get your eruption registering on Geonet? Challenge laid!! (And check out volcano cam while you're on the Geonet website to see if your quake registered).
If you're serious about going big: check out the 'inspiration' tab for the world's biggest vinegar and baking soda volcano.
And while we’re talking about Coke: real volcanoes don't have baking soda and vinegar, they have magma from the earth's core. You can touch baking soda but you wouldn't want to touch actual molten lava. Check out what it does to this Coke can ... scrambled eggs from hell!!