Videos of lava are already mesmerizing. But place a familiar prop in the path of molten rock — like, say, a can of Coca-Cola — and hot lava can quickly turn into YouTube gold.

That's what photographer Brian Lowry demonstrated this week when his new video of lava enveloping two full Coke cans went viral. Lowry has spent years shooting Hawaii's lava flows, and last year he posted an intriguing video of lava immersing a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli. This followup is even more compelling, partly because it uses a more iconic commodity and partly because it raises an age-old question: Will it explode?

Lowry wondered the same thing, explaining on YouTube that he punched a tiny hole in the first can "to prevent it from randomly exploding." Neither it nor a second, fully sealed can erupted with much force, but the footage is still far from disappointing. After all, science isn't always about explosions. And yes, in case you were wondering, this is science.

"This series of videos is scientific in nature," Lowry writes, adding that he hopes his work can illuminate "how differing sealed objects react to the 2,000-degree lava."

Since 2,000-degree lava is also dangerous, Lowry warns amateurs not to replicate his experiments. "Don't try this at home," he writes, advice that most likely applies away from home as well. "Safety precautions were taken and only the GoPro was slightly in harm's way. By the end of this outing most of my camera gear was just a bit sticky."

Along with a GoPro Hero 2, Lowry also used a Nikon D800 to document the cans' slow demise. He obviously couldn't recycle the aluminum cans afterward, but as he points out on YouTube, volcanoes are sort of like Mother Nature's garbage incinerators. "If anyone's worried this is littering, relax," Lowry writes. "These items all melted."

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Russell McLendon ( @russmclendon ) writes about humans and other wildlife.