Highlights from the 2017 Lamont-Doherty Open House

October 9, 2017
volcano heat suit and sign about eruptions

The 2017 Lamont-Doherty Open House was chock-full of eruptions—but thankfully, volcano heat suits were not required. Photo: Kyu Lee

Nearly 4,000 people showed up to the Lamont-Doherty Open House on Saturday. Through interactive exhibits, games, goo, and a few explosions, people of all ages learned about geology, earth science, and climate change—and had a lot of fun in the process. Here are a few of our favorite moments from the day’s several dozen activities and lectures.

researcher points at simulation on screen

Kids listen to a simulation of Earth’s movements. Photo: Sarah Fecht

simulated glacial flow

A goo made out of glue and Borax simulates the flow of glaciers. Toothpicks, originally placed in a straight line, illustrate how ice flows faster in the center due to lack of friction. Photo: Sarah Fecht

Researchers use ping pong balls and liquid nitrogen to simulate a Plinian eruption. Videos by Sarah Fecht and Kyu Lee/Earth Institute at Columbia University

jello with dye in it

By cutting gelatin and injecting juice into the cracks, kids learned how fracking and wastewater injection can cause earthquakes. Photo: Kyu Lee

kids playing in pool

Fishing for plankton using nets made from coffee cups and pantyhose. Photo: Sarah Fecht

climate change murals

Open House attendees made murals to answer the questions “How does climate change affect me?” and “What can I do about climate change?” Photo: Sarah Fecht

Earth scientist Marc Spiegelman dances on a mixture of cornstarch and water to demonstrate some of the amazing properties of rocks—like their ability to be both elastic and brittle. Video by Kyu Lee/Earth Institute at Columbia University

save the village demonstration

In this demonstration, kids set up barriers to try to protect a town from a volcanic eruption of hot wax—except they don’t know which volcano will blow, and they only get a few blocks. In this case, the kids managed to save the school (center left), but couldn’t save one of the houses (center). Photo: Sarah Fecht

kids drawing about how to reduce carbon emissions

Kids at Cottage Lane Elementary School made drawings as part of the Kids Against Climate Change coalition. Photo: Kyu Lee