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Grandma's death by acid is a highlight of the 1997 camp classic "Dante's Peak." The disaster epic chronicles the race to save a small town from a deadly volcanic eruption.
In the movie, volcanic gases quickly turn a placid lake into an acidic death trap as a family escapes burning-hot lava by boat, aided by a volcanologist played by Pierce Brosnan. Grandma sacrifices herself and jumps into the lake to push their dissolving aluminum boat the last few feet to safety.
In 1996, volcanic blasts at Karymsky Lake in Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula created a toxic chemical soup in the formerly pristine lake, according to a study published Oct. 1 in Geophysical Research Letters. The eruption decimated the lake's ecosystem, killing off thousands of fish and trees.
But unlike "Dante's Peak," the acidity didn't kill the thousands of salmon living in Karymsky Lake, Taran said. Death did come from below, but life in the lake first cooked to death, then was torn apart by tsunamis.
Here's what happened: The lake water steamed and boiled as superheated gas and lava broke through vents beneath the surface. Tsunamis up to 32 feet (20 meters) high pounded the shore with each new outburst, tearing out trees. New hot springs appeared. A small volcanic crater formed near the outlet of Karymsky River on the northern lake rim. Eventually, everything was covered with a layer of mud.