Drill down to discover the treasures beneath our feet that power our world. Fossil fuels–coal, oil, and natural gas–powered the industrial revolution and allowed us to build a way of life that many cherish today. Personal cars, planes, lights, hot showers–all of these are gifts from our fossil fuels… but they have a dirty dark side in that they are polluting the planet. What is it about these natural resources that have allowed them to fuel our civilization? What secrets are locked in their molecules? Where did that energy come from, and can we find alternative energy resources that come in a cleaner form? The hunt is on for new treasures that might allow us to power our modern way of life without damaging the environment. Join NOVA as we explore the resources that both power and pollute, from modern-day oil prospecting in California, to a mega-city utility company struggling to keep the lights on during hot summer days, to China where an engineer strives to solve one of the greatest obstacles to the success of solar power. Travel the globe to see how our energy treasures are changing—and if they can keep the lights on.
Between the blue sky above and the infinite blackness beyond lies a frontier that scientists have only just begun to investigate. In "At the Edge of Space," NOVA takes viewers on a spectacular exploration of the Earth-space boundary that's home to some of nature's most puzzling and alluring phenomena: the shimmering aurora, streaking meteors, and fleeting flashes that shoot upwards from thunderclouds, known as sprites.
As part of the connecting landmass between North and South America, Mexico has long been at the center of a tectonic tug of war spanning millennia. The result is two of the world's largest, most active volcanoes--the rumbling Popocatepetl and the menacing Volcano De Colima--whose vengeful displays of wrath are increasing in frequency. Could a cataclysmic eruption be just around the corner?
Professor Iain Stewart uncovers the mysterious history of Australia, and shows how Australia's journey as a continent has affected everything from Aboriginal history to modern day mining, and even the evolution of Australia's bizarre wildlife, like the koala.
This episode focuses on the Asia-Pacific side of The Pacific Rim of Fire, which stands as a living testament to the beauty and danger that powerful geologic forces can deliver. The Pacific Rim is home to half of the world's active volcanoes and ninety percent of the world's earthquakes, yet nearly 800 million people continue to live within its violent edge. Our journey begins in New Zealand, a land of volcanoes and earthquakes, where we find a 500-kilometre long slip-strike fault deep under the Pacific Ocean. Geologist Hamish Campbell will take us to the crater of White Island, the country’s most active volcano. Then we'll visit the country's southern island with John Youngson, to find out how New Zealand’s longest fault-line contributes to the gold industry. Finally in Japan, viewers will hike up to Mount Fuji – the iconic peak where science and legend converge, getting up-close and personal with a fault-line witnessing firsthand what it’s like to discover new ways of monitoring, and hopefully one day predicting, seismic activity onboard the world’s most advanced drilling vessels.