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How Long Could You Survive Buried Alive In A Coffin? Let’s Find Out!

By 11.01.13

Ryan Reynolds buried alive in Lionsgate's Buried

Ever wondered how long you could survive if buried alive in a coffin? Just me? Am I alone here with my bottle of generic Xanax?

Well, if you are interested in how long you can stay buried alive, Popular Science has an approximate answer: 5.5 hours. It will vary based on your size, breathing rate, whether or not you’re dumb enough to use an oxygen-sucking cigarette lighter like Ryan Reynolds in Buried, et cetera, but Christina Cala of PopSci dropped some estimates.

Let’s say the average casket measures 84 by 28 by 23 inches, so its total volume is 54.096 cubic inches, or 886 liters. We’ll use that as the internal volume too, to give you a few extra minutes of life. And the average volume of a human body is 66 liters. That leaves 820 liters of air, one-fifth of which (164 liters) is oxygen. If a trapped person consumes 0.5 liters of oxygen per minute, it would take almost 5 and a half hours before all the oxygen in the coffin was consumed. [PopSci via Neatorama]

However, you’d lapse into a coma from the buildup of carbon dioxide before the 5.5 hours was up, according to Alan R. Leff at the University of Chicago’s pulmonary and critical care department. And if you were thinking about digging your way out like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, we have more bad news. Ethan Greene of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center told Cala the dirt would be too heavy and dense, “It’d be like concrete setting in the course of seconds.”

In other news, there’s something called a “Colorado Avalanche Information Center”. I bet they hand out a lot of pamphlets that just say, “RUN.”

So there’s something pleasant to think about on a post-Halloween Friday. Have a great weekend! Don’t get buried alive.

(Banner picture courtesy of Lionsgate.)


TAGSALAN R LEFFBURIED ALIVECHRISTINA CALACOLORADO AVALANCHE INFORMATION CENTERETHAN GREENEINFORMATION YOU NEEDphobiasscienceUNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

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