Technonlogy

Molten lava consumes GoPro camera in viral video

Erik Storm’s GoPro camera filmed its own fiery death.

The event was “an honest accident that produced an amazing story,” Storm, the owner and lead guide for Hawaii’s Kilauea EcoGuides, told me. 

Storm set down his camera to film the lava and then became distracted.


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Molten lava overtakes a GoPro


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“I was telling a story about the Polynesian goddess Pele to my guests when my GoPro was hit by the lava,” he said. ” I am very passionate about what I do and sometimes get lost in providing our guests with cultural and scientific information.”

In the video, the lava slowly covers the camera and its waterproof housing, and then flames blaze up.

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Erik Storm’s camera after it was engulfed by lava. “The viral nature of this story has brought many doubters and non-believers,” Storm said. 


Erik Storm

The video dates to August 2016, when Storm took a private tour group to Kilauea volcano and set down his GoPro to film the lava flow. The footage is now going viral thanks to attention from PetaPixel.  

“I thought the camera was for sure done when it was engulfed in the lava,” Storm said. “I had a geologist rock hammer with me, and that is how I was able to get it out of the now-cooling rock.”

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The camera really did work afterwards, Storm says.


Erik Storm

If Storm was surprised to turn around and see his camera buried in lava, another surprise awaited him when he got home. He hammered the now-hardened rock off, and saw the camera’s blue Wi-Fi light still blinking. The camera would turn on, but was no longer usable because its lens had melted. But there was good news.

“The SD card popped right out and the footage was intact,” Storm said.

Some who’ve seen the footage don’t believe Storm’s story.

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The housing protected the camera somewhat.


Erik Storm

“I have been accused of doing this intentionally, which is definitely not the case,” he said. “I am by no means rich, why would I put a $400 camera in jeopardy intentionally? And if I did this to gain attention why would I have not tried to get all that attention back in August of 2016 when this happened?”

Don’t get any bright ideas about creating your own viral video by following Storm’s lead.

“It is VERY important to note that flowing lava in Hawaii is extremely sacred and should be respected as such,” he warns. “No one should ever poke the lava with anything, cook with the lava, or throw anything into or in front of the flowing lava. … This is a very sacred place that commands respect.”  

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Storm emphasizes the importance of respecting Hawaii’s volcanoes.


Erik Storm


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