Educate, entertain... explode! | University of Oxford

Educate, entertain... explode!

An explosive new educational card game is set to erupt into living rooms across the country as UK university volcanologists launch Volcanoes Top Trumps.

Fans of the iconic series will be able to pit the destructive forces of Krakatoa, Cotopaxi and Vesuvius against the unpredictability of Yellowstone, Etna and Eyjafjallajökull thanks to a special limited edition of the game.

Working together on the STREVA (Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas) Project, a group of volcanologists at Oxford University, Plymouth University and the University of East Anglia came up with the idea of using Top Trumps as a way to educate and inspire. All profits from the sales of the cards will go to help people affected by volcanic activity and to educate people about volcanoes.

The scientists behind the project hope that players will not only learn about the devastating trail of destruction caused by volcanic eruptions, but also understand the sense of wonder felt by scientists witnessing these eruptions.

Professor David Pyle of Oxford University's Department of Earth Sciences, part of the STREVA team, said: 'This is a fantastic opportunity for us to have fun, share some of our own experiences on and with volcanoes, and at the same time create something that might have educational or wider benefits well beyond the boundaries of the STREVA project.

'We're always looking for new ways to inspire people to learn more about volcanoes and Top Trumps seemed an ideal platform. We were supported by Oxford Sparks, who last year produced an educational animation on volcanoes that went down extremely well with viewers of all ages. We hope that the Top Trumps will help us to reach even wider audiences to really get people engaged with volcanology.'

Dr Jenni Barclay of the University of East Anglia, who leads the STREVA Project, added: 'As Top Trumps fans we couldn't believe there wasn't one for volcanoes, and we are delighted that Top Trumps were willing to work with us to put that right. It's been tremendous and volcanologists from around the world have contributed superb images while we've used some of the scientific data and our own knowledge to create the categories, which we hope everyone will enjoy while learning.'

Dr Paul Cole, lecturer in geohazards at Plymouth University, said: 'Volcanoes are both fascinating and destructive, and have a large impact on people who live around them. The STREVA Project is exploring better ways to forecast volcanic eruptions and identify and reduce the vulnerability of those risks. We wanted to use the game to highlight how much we know about volcanoes, and through Top Trumps, we are highlighting those serious and important messages in a fun and informative way.'

There are more than 1,500 volcanoes across the globe, with around 50 erupting at any one time. The Top Trumps game includes historical sites where thousands have lost their lives, as well as more recent outbursts which have caused chaos for millions.

It features 30 active or dormant volcanoes across the world, with experts then ranking them based on six categories – deadliness, explosivity, height, unpredictability, wow factor and potential devastation.