Seriously.  You mean you haven’t put any distance between yourselves and the Molten Mess?  Well, you deserve to die.


And to the question “What has Rusty been up to all this time?” Realize that the elapsed time has been (including travel time from Lost Forest) about 3 days.  Or less.  We haven’t lost daylight during this race against flowing lava and exploding island, and the only implied overnight was between the time Mark and Cherry were greeted by the shirtless conch-blower and then seeing them pool-side when Mark’s phone rang with Abbey on the other end…

Oh how I pine,
For a decent story line.

OK, let’s figure this out…

I know we have all been going back and forth about whether ‘Volcano’ and ‘Atoll’ deserve to be in the same sentence… and here’s what I found:

The coral of the atoll often sits atop the rim of an extinct seamount or volcano which has eroded or subsided partially beneath the water. The lagoon forms over the volcanic crater or caldera while the higher rim remains above water or at shallow depths that permit the coral to grow and form the reefs. For the atoll to persist, continued erosion or subsidence must be at a rate slow enough to permit reef growth upwards and outwards to replace the lost height.


But is this entirely inconsistent with an island that has 100 foot sheer rock faces jutting up from the sea, lost civilizations expert in the art of stone cutting down to the nearest millimeter, and other things that we have witnessed over the ensuing months?  Seems a bit far fetched, but here’s a short video discussing how reefs and atolls (a specific kind of reef) are formed with the help of a volcano… So who knows, could be that the volcano had been dormant for centuries or longer, only to awaken for the benefit Mark and Abbey and what constitutes our current storyline.

And here’s what an underwater volcano looks like from above, the Seamount forming…  a reminder that despite what Man does or doesn’t do, Mother Earth has her own agenda…

How convenient…

As Mark gets a leg-up and into the boat by… I don’t know who or what… He encourages Cal to gun that 9.9hp Johnson outboard and get them the H-E-double toothpicks out of there…


So now we take odds as to whether they will be able to return to civilization unscathed…  and given our experience with these protracted story lines, I’d say the odds are 70-30 in favor of further calamity.  Or 90-10 in favor of the Feds showing up…

Come to think of it though, a helicopter rescue would have been much more satisfying.  To see Cal hovering over Mark and Abbey, inches off the water, bathed in Prop-wash, and hauling them to safety… watching them talk to each other in normal voices, oblivious to the roar of the engine 6 feet above them, and figuring then that Abbey would have to explain why she had to expense a boat and motor on the government dime… be subject to congressional scrutiny by the new administration… Oh I guess these things can go any which-a-way, and for that matter still could.

Well Hallelujah…

At least we aren’t dragging this out…  weeks of Mark and Abbey bobbing around, seemingly on their last legs, wondering if they will be found… Rather we have Cal right on the Mark… Hah!  See what I did there??


But what must be racing through Mark’s mind right now…

But… Cal=Helicopter, Cal≠Boat, Abbey=Boat, Abbey floating with me…

Just imagine the cognitive disarray!

So climb aboard me mateys…  let’s get back to the Resort and end this silly story!!

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in…

…in the words of one Henry David Thoreau, Early American Blogger, protege of Ralph Waldo Emerson, identified as part of the Transcendental Movement, who apparently was never taught to NOT end sentences with prepositions…  But in the spirit of time being fluid and eternal, and certainly not linear, we are taken back in time to the point right before Mark and Abbey tested the effects of gravity and sudden deceleration…


Vonnegut also had fun with time in Slaughterhouse-Five, with Billy Pilgrim tripping through time (and space) after being alien abducted and spending time on the planet Tralfamadore where all the inhabitants live in a four-dimensional reality… After being removed from the Trailverse for a couple of days and spending time in Iowa, I can relate…


But back to the story…  As Mark’s hair snaps back into place by panel three, Abbey is doing her water-works-fountain act for good measure…  Talented lass… she can cough, hack, spit gracefully and talk at the same time.


Swim Fast?  You think?  Oh Mark, you are nothing if not obvious… So, as Mark and Abbey swim as fast as they can away from the soon to be boiling ocean, it’s a darn good thing that Cal will be making his way to them in Abbey’s ill-fitted craft.  We shall  soon test the weight bearing capacity and lack of any safety equipment (or fuel) aboard and we’ll see whether they can all make it back to the King-Kaluha Resort to sit poolside and recount lusty tales of flowing lava and death defying leaps…

Now that’s what we call a T-A-B…

Tiny-Ass-Boat.  Which got H&G (Hell and gone) away from the unstable island…  or atoll… whatever.  And Thanks Cal, for that dose of the Obvious…


Now what are the chances that Ol’ Cal will make a circuit of the island to check for survivors?  He already saw his retirement plan get wiped out… With Mark and Abbey (hopefully, or not…) bobbing in the sea, they will last only so long without a little help…

Abbey’s in shock, Mark looks like he’s dead…

Good to know  that they had some depth with which to work, unlike that dumb-ass in the video yesterday… Did you all flinch?  I know I did…


But boy won’t Abbey have a tale to tell when she gets back to the office… Everyone back at the USDA was secretly hating on her because she got to go the conference… in Hawaii, no less!  Little did they know that the trip was going to turn into a series of harrowing experiences.  Not like it had to though… If Abbey did not feel compelled to root out invasive species on isolated atolls, she wouldn’t be sinking in the ocean depths with possible compression fractures and internal bleeding…


Abbey Jump?!?  Sorry, Mark, but you are already 50 feet or more down the cliff face… Perhaps you should have declared, “Abbey, we JUMPED!


So much for suspense…  we saw this coming days (weeks?) ago.  Looks like the are sticking the landing, though, assuming that there is adequate depth of water to take the fall.

But let’s consider this answer from one who appears to have studied and paid attention in physics class…  reminding us that water is hard, and it’s not the fall that will kill you, it’s the rapid deceleration upon impact…  exerting multiple tons of pressure on the body…

Well, let’s look at the force of impact (granted it is in water, and calculating the true impact is quite complex)… nevertheless.

Let’s take the Golden gate bridge for instance:

67 meter fall/jump.
Weight of jumper: 70 kg

Let’s ignore air resistance:

We’re left with:
Acceleration = -9.8 m/s^2

Vf^2 = V0^2 + 2*a*h
          = 0 + 2 * (-9.8) * 67

Vf = 36.24 m/s or 130.46 km/hr or 81 mph or 119.592 feet/s

F = ma = 686N

Since we’re jumping into water, let’s calculate the deceleration upon impact into water.

Impulse = -(70kg * 36.24m/s) = 2536.8 N . s

Ignoring terminal velocity and such (since it is 81 mph), so now it is just a matter of how you fall into the water to account for the amount of deceleration from the impact depth your body suffers.

We can assume that the density of a body is almost equal to water (considering we’re made up of roughly 3/4 of the stuff, and we float).

Impact depth = Length * (Density of body A / Density of the medium B)

So the impact depth is roughly the length of your body (plus a bit more).

For example: You were unlucky enough to fall perfectly horizontal.
This means the entire force of impact would cause your body to decelerate to half the velocity in about a foot of distance.

So at around 120 ft/sec, passing 1 foot of depth would take 1/120 = 0.008 seconds

Duration of impact would be 0.016 seconds:
Average Force = Impulse / dt = 2536.8/0.016 = 158550 N or 16 Tons.
Deceleration = Average Force / mass = 158550/70 = 2265 m/s^2 or 231 gs

Highly doubtful you’ll survive.

Now if you were lucky enough to fall feet first and perfectly vertical.

Impact depth = (let’s assume the person was 6 ft tall).

So 6/120 = 0.05 seconds

Duration of impact would be ~0.1 seconds:
Average Force = 25368 N or 2.6 Tons.
Deceleration = Average Force / mass = 25368/70 = 362.4 m/s^2 or 37 gs

If you did survive, the impact would be enough to shatter all your bones from your feet to your hips. There may be significant damage to your vital organs as well.

And for those of you still with me, a bonus.  Here’s a great example of peer-pressure and dumb-assery… warning to the faint of heart, you may not want to click this link.  Nothing malicious, it’s YouTube, but it’s pretty disturbing.

Mark’s keepin’ it real…

That is sure as smug a look as I have ever seen in panel one… eyes squinty, that knowing expression… like he’s looking into a campfire at Lost Forest…  not being pinned in by flowing lava…


I like the theory that they are about to do a Butch Cassidy/Sundance Kid-like jump into the sea where Cal will be miraculously floating…  Surviving a fall of 100+ feet into unknown depths…  sure, it could happen…

She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain when she comes…

You’re welcome.  Now that you’ll all have that ear worm stuck in your head.. or I’ve also heard it referred to as a “tune wedgie…”


And by now we are all very well acquainted with the arc and trajectory of catapulted volcano matter, like in panel one, I don’t think we can ever lose that picture…  But why, oh why, does everyone feel compelled to call out to Mark?  Like he’s of any use here?  Like he doesn’t see what’s going on?

I don’t know about you-all, but I ain’t  feelin’ it… the tension that is.  The frustration, sure, but that is well registered and acknowledged by now.  So as Mark and Abbey do their best impression of the Stinky Cheese Man (Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the Stinky Cheese Man…) we all live to wonder another day how they get out of the Batman-esque trap that have put themselves into…