Jurassic World: Volcano

In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life ...

My first thought was, why would InGen build a park on an island that has a volcano, especially since they own a second island (The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III both take place on Isla Sorna).

This made me wonder if the volcano was a retcon or if it was actually mentioned or shown in the original Jurassic Park (1993), e.g. in establishing shots or a maps of the park.

My Question:

  • Is the volcano on Isla Nublar a retcon or did it exist since the first movie?
  • I'm not knocking the question as to whether it's a retcon or not... but people build on volcanoes all the time... Hawaii, the Canaries, Pompeii.... then just hope they don't go off ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 17:33
  • @Tetsujin - when it comes to a location for my billion dollar theme park I'd rather not take any risks. Hammond had enough money to buy at least two islands, and Lockwood (James Cromwell's character) seems to even have a third island.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 17:48
  • There's no indication of a volcano in the original movie...or reference to one. I'd put this down as a retcon.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 19:01
  • 3
    @Paulie Except to a geologist or anyone who recognised the filming locations in Hawaii used for some scenes, the rocks in the background are clearly igneous extrusive in nature.
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 23:09
  • In the book and 1993 film, there are no mentions of active volcanoes. However, externally, Kauai (where it was filmed) has volcanic origins. Not an answer, just a comment.
    – Mikey
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 13:21

2 Answers 2


Was Isla Nublar always volcanic, or was it a retcon?

An early draft of the script for the first film contains a line by Hammond describing the island explicitly as an extinct volcano (though this line is missing from the final version of the script):

Isla Nublar. Actually an extinct volcano, though there's still volcanic steam in places... as you can see, ocean currents make it permanently covered in mist.

The above line is a paraphrasing of a quote from the original book, which frequently1 mentions the island's volcanic activity. In fact, the island's name itself derives from this:

Isla Nublar, Hammond explained, was not a true island. Rather, it was a seamount, a volcanic upthrusting of rock from the ocean floor. "It's volcanic origins can be seen all over the island," Hammond said. "There are steam vents in many places, and the ground is often hot underfoot. Because of this, and also because of prevailing currents, Isla Nublar lies in a foggy area."

Why would InGen build a park on an island that has a volcano?

We may assume this is because the creators of the park hypothesized a diverse and volcanic environment would be more 'natural' for the animals, or conducive to the preservation of multiple varied species:

It was during the early Triassic period that Procompsognathus had lived... The air was denser. The land was warmer. There were hundreds of active volcanoes. And it was in this environment that Procompsognathus lived.

... when Grant looked at this landscape, he saw... another, very different world, which had vanished eighty million years ago... At that time, there were thin clouds in the sky overhead, darkened by the smoke of nearby volcanoes. The atmosphere was denser, richer in carbon dioxide.

Costa Rica had a remarkable diversity of biological habitats: seacoasts on both the Atlantic and the Pacific; four separate mountain ranges, including twelve-thousand-foot peaks and active volcanoes; rain forests, cloud forests, temperate zones, swampy marshes, and arid deserts. Such ecological diversity sustained an astonishing diversity of plant and animal life. Costa Rica had three times as many species of birds as all of North America. More than a thousand species of orchids. More than five thousand species of insects.


1. Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

Along the side of the road, clouds of volcanic steam misted rainbows in the bright quartz lights... Land Cruisers moving through fields of steam... The southern end of the island had more volcanic activity than the north.

He smelled the sulfur fumes of the volcanic steam... Already he could smell the sulfur. And up ahead he saw the rising steam of the volcanic fields.
The ground was hot, Gennaro thought, as he walked forward. It was actually hot. And here and there mud bubbled and spat up from the ground. And the reeking, sulfurous steam hissed in great shoulder-high plumes. He felt as if he were walking through hell... They all walked forward, among the bubbling steam vents.

"The raptors are localized in the southern area, down where the volcanic steam fields are. Maybe they like the warmth."... It looked more and more as if Ellie had been correct: the nest was in the southern volcanic fields.

  • I read the novel some 25 years ago (before the movie came out), so that's a detail I didn't remember at all. But aside from "steam vents", does the novel mention a volcano on the island and whether it was considered "active", "dormant" or "extinct"?
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 10:14
  • The added info about the different ecosystem is a very good point, but at the same time you wouldn't want your theme park visitors to have breathing problems.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 10:27
  • I'll accept this answer based on the link to Crichton's first draft script mentioning that the volcano was considered extinct. - "The southern end of the island had more volcanic activity than the north" Strangely Jurassic World decided to put the volcano on the north of the Island.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 11:05
  • 3
    Essentially all Atlantic and Pacific islands are volcanic in origin.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 12:28

The Pacific side of Costa Rica sits directly over a subduction zone where the Cocos plate is moving under the North American plate - very similar to how the Juan de Fuca plate produced the Cascade Range, most notably for recent history - Mt. St. Helens. It would be unbelievable if Isla Nublar, Isla Sorna, and the rest of the "Five Deaths" were not volcanic, especially given that the real-world seabed off Costa Rica has a number of volcanic seamounts which could produce islands similar to those described in the books or protrayed in the movies. As pointed out above, people build on volcanoes all the time.

More relevant as to the "why" build there if Hammond is so rich - this is described in the original Crighton novel - Costa Rica was willing to sell Hammond an Island not subject to any regulatory authority. The reasons why Hammond chose to build on Isla Nublar is that any volcanoes appeared dormant/extinct, and no one was going to tell him he couldn't build the park or clone dinosaurs there - or monitor what he was doing.

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