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Hot Sauce Hot Spots

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    The Exploratorium

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Hot Sauce Hot Spots

In this activity, learners model hot spot island formation, orientation and progression with condiments. Learners squirt a thick condiment sauce on a coarsely woven fabric to model how volcanic island hot spots form.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Almost any thick (non-runny) viscous sauce or condiment (mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce)
  • Almost anything that squirts a viscous liquid like a condiment (squirt bottle, turkey baster, syringe)
  • A porous fabric or mesh


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics
    • Earth Structure
      • Rocks and Minerals
      • Oceans and Water
    • Earth's History
      • Geologic Time
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Model Building
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Muller, Eric


  • All Rights Reserved, Do Science, ©2007


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