Earthquakes and volcanoes are the most dramatic manifestations of the power of nature. Discover what causes these violent and destructive events, what they feel and look like, and how scientists work to predict them.
From 24 February - autumn 2013 the Power Within gallery is closed for refurbishment. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Step inside the volcano room in the gallery and find out how and why volcanoes erupt, when the intense heat at the centre of the Earth builds up. See live news coverage and reconstructions of Mount Pinatubo erupting in the Philippines in 1991.
Explore the massive natural forces inside the Earth that make their effects felt on its surface. Find out what happens – above and below the ground – when a volcano erupts or when an earthquake takes place.
Watch footage of flowing lava and ash. Experience the large-screen film installation of dramatic underwater volcanic activity and hydrothermal vents.
Inside the volcano room, get an idea of what it’s like to be under a volcano in our gallery model. See the process of eruption from pressure building to cracks forming and molten rock spewing out. Touch lava rock and see pumice fragments expelled during an eruption.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, hardened volcanic ash preserved the remains of the inhabitants of nearby Pompeii. See reconstructions of the casts of 2 volcano victims – a man and a dog.
Feel the power within for yourself as the earth shakes in the Kobe Supermarket earthquake machine. You can also witness the amazing effects of an earthquake, captured live on supermarket security cameras.
See first-hand the damage earthquakes can cause in populated areas, like this car crushed under a wall. The consequences of natural disasters can be devastating to people, their homes and possessions.
Dramatic natural events account for the appearance of these columns of basalt. The rock was part of a lava flow that formed the extraordinary Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. The lava shrank as it cooled, creating these multi-faceted shapes.