# Dante's Peak (1997)

## 7 factual errors

Directed by: Roger Donaldson

After the volcanic eruption, there's a scene where we see our heroes going across a lake, which has been turned to acid by the lava. If this acid is strong enough to corrode the propeller, then surely the fumes would be destroying their lungs, in which case they should be dead, or close to it.

Davidian

The scene in which the main characters are in the ranger station truck and are driving across the lava flow, you see the tire getting absolutely covered in lava, flinging it inside the wheel well, plus the bottom of the truck is basically only an inch or two above it. How did the gas tank and the fuel lines survive that miraculously without melting or bursting? The heat would literally boil the fuel inside the lines and the truck would no longer be able to run.

In the scene where Pierce Brosnan hot wires the pickup truck, it is clear the truck has a locking steering wheel and gearshift. Even if he connected the correct wires to start the truck, he wouldn't be able to move or steer it.

In the scene where Paul and the National Guardsman are leaving the motel for the final time after packing up, Paul follows the two Humvee's out of town. Being a Guardsman myself, I know for a fact that all civilians would be in front and Humvees would be following them. It is standard operational procedure.

That truck they're driving had better be fitted with a couple of powerful rocket motors, because they outdrive a pyroclastic explosion, which would be moving at about 300kmh, and the wide shots show it's moving much faster than vehicle speed. We see the pyroclastic cloud just metres behind the truck - it would overtake them in seconds.

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Suggested correction: A pyroclastic flow can have a speed of up to 400km/h. The key word here is "up to" and in reality they are usually much slower than this with the average speed being around 100km/h. Scientists believe the flow that followed the eruption of Saint Helens in 1980 had a maximum speed of just 72km/h.

Read the posting again, watch the film again. " the wide shots show it's moving much faster than vehicle speed." The pyroclastic flow at Mt St Helens may have been slow enough to outrun, but the one at Dante's Peak wasn't. This also makes this a continuity mistake as the sped of the flow varies drastically from shot to shot.

When being rescued from the crater, Harry tells the helicopter that he is 600 feet below the rim. But earlier, when first the other scientist and then Harry went down into the crater it took a very short time - that could not have been 600 feet. And also from the look of the distance it was more like 150 feet. (00:13:10)

Jacob La Cour

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Suggested correction: He's saying he's "about" 600ft below the helicopter, not below the rim. Also, Harry was just guessing at the distance, it could be more, it could be less.

If the lake was already acid while the family was in the lodge for a while, the wooden docks should have already been dissolved.

Roman Curiel

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Suggested correction: Different materials react with sulphur dioxide in different ways. Sulphur dioxide (or SO2) wouldn't actually dissolve wood, it would just char it and weaken it.

### Mistakes

When they are driving up the mountain to get to her kids, they cross a river and they get hit on the passenger side of the truck shattering the window, but later when they show them going up the mountain there is a new window there.

### Quotes

Harry Dalton: I've always been better at feeling out volcanoes than people and politics.

### Trivia

When we see Paul in the van as it is taken over by the overflowing river, just as he hits the water, we hear the Wilhelm scream.

### Questions

I'm asking this because I don't really know a lot about volcanoes but, at the beginning of the movie, Harry was in the middle of a volcano eruption with: rain; rocks falling etc. When the volcano in Dante's Peak erupted, it was different from before, meaning that there was no rain (but ash), rivers strong enough to break a dam, burning water, dead wildlife etc. Even at the end of the movie, the volcano still had one more eruption before it finally died down. My question is, are all volcano eruptions not the same or are they just unpredictable when they explode? It just seems kind of odd that Harry was experiencing different things in nature after the volcano exploded. I hope I explained this enough; I'm just curious is all.

Answer: Volcanic eruptions can range from ash eruption to hot gas eruption to lava eruption to explosive eruption. Movies tend to inaccurately lump all of these eruptions together.

Charles Austin Miller

Answer: Volcanoes can differ because of type of volcano, type of eruption, and region. The Pacific Northwest has a history of volcanoes that erupt not lava, but rock, gas, and ash. Other regions (like Hawaii and Central Africa) erupt primarily lava. Age of the volcano is also a factor.

Greg Dwyer

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