Strange Science: Lava Floors

Lava from a 1948 eruption. Not the floor.

Sometimes, our Strange Science goes a little weirder than other weeks. This week is one of those.

We started out by asking ourselves how “the floor is lava” became a thing. The first answer we found was related to a 1948 Roald Dahl story, in which the floor was actually red hot coals and snakes. Okay, not too far off from the childhood game.

But it went beyond that–after all, this is a game that is known all over the U.S., and no one is quite sure how or where they learned it. Maybe it’s more of a phenomenon of suburban architecture, which introduced larger spaces into peoples’ homes, spaces that they then filled with furniture, and then inventive children made up a game they could play on said furniture? (You can read more about this theory here.)

When it comes down to, it, however, we have some bad news to impart about the floor being lava. It can’t actually be lava, according to scientists. If the floor were lava, we’d already be dead, due to the high temperatures.

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