Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles You cannot be a super villain if you don't have a secret lair inside a volcano. Preferably one with a cauldron of bubbling lava you can slowly lower 007 into once you finish monologuing at her and leave the room laughing maniacally, confident in her impending demise. But it turns out that volcanoes with active lava lakes are incredibly rare. Of the roughly 1,500 active volcanoes worldwide, we only knew of seven with lakes of bubbling lava. Until July of 2019, when scientists announced they had found an eighth, and it is the most supervillain-y one yet. It's called Mount Michael, and it's located on one of the South Sandwich Islands about 1,000 miles from Antarctica. The mountain is mostly covered in glacial ice, perfect for covering in guard wolves with lasers on their heads. No one has ever summited Mount Michael on account of stratovolcano's steep sides. If no one's ever been to the top of the volcano to peer in, you may be wondering how we know Mount Michael has one of the world's few lava lakes. It was only discovered thanks to decades of satellite imagery. Thermal anomalies were first spotted in the 1990s and again in the early 2000s, but the image quality and processing techniques weren't advanced enough to prove there was a lava lake conclusively. But from 2003 to 2018, multiple missions collected better data allowing researchers to conclude that Mt. Michael was home to a lake of lava about 70 to 150 meters across, and potentially as hot as nearly 1300 degrees celsius. This volcano is pretty remote, so it doesn't pose much danger to anyone, you know besides secret agents. But studying it may help us predict the hazards posed by other lava lakes, some of which are near populated areas. One such volcano is Kilauea on the big island of Hawai'i, and its lava lake contributed to serious destruction as recently as 2018. In late April of that year, it spilled out from the summit, then a few days later the lake began to drain as magma moved downslope underground. Eventually the magma broke through the surface, and by early June over 20 fissures had opened up, dumping lava out in huge quantities. This continued for months, destroying over 700 homes, displacing thousands of people, and blanketing over 35 square kilometers of land in lava. When volcanoes erupt, it's not the tsunami of fire you might imagine and sometimes it's possible to outrun or even outwalk the molten rock. When volcanoes do kill it's likely the avalanches of rock and ash called pyroclastic flows, or mudflows called lahars that will get you. But another volcano that's home to a lava lake has killed with superfast lava. Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a steep-sided stratovolcano, periodically containing a lake of particularly low-viscosity lava that's currently about 400 meters deep. In 1977, the crater wall holding the lava lake inside broke, sending lava traveling as fast as 100 kph barreling down the slopes, destroying nearby villages and taking lives with it. So any new lava lake we discover offers a chance for further study and clues on how to avoid disasters in the future. We still don't know why some of them persist, it could be the lakes are connected to a cache of magma deep underground, or the gases coming up from underneath are hot enough to keep the rocks molten. It would help if we could find more of them to study. Some scientists have suggested that we might have luck discovering them beneath the oceans, where the majority of the world's volcanism occurs. If we can only find these 8 lava lakes on the surface, maybe diving under the waves will be our next step to study this rare phenomenon. Supervillains may be trying to destroy the world, but every-day villains are trying to steal your identity, and there's way more of those guys. That's why I use a VPN. NordVPN has double data encryption. And for a short time, they're offering 75% off a 3-year plan at nordvpn.com/SEEKER This makes your subscription just $2.99 per month, which is an amazing deal to watch shows and events that aren't available where I live. And for an added bonus, use code SEEKER to get an extra month of Nord for free! For more geologic videos like this, check out this video on the mysterious Earth blobs wrapped around the Earth's core. So, would you live near an active volcano? I bet Dr. Evil makes a terrible neighbor. Let us know in the comments, make sure to subscribe while you're down there, and I'll see you next time on Seeker.