Gravity • 2013 • episode "S1E5" Secrets of the Earth

Category: Environment
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NASA satellites have mapped Earth's gravity and discovered mysterious spots where gravity is weaker; how earthquakes change the planet's gravitational field.

Secrets of the Earth • 2013 • 9 episodes •

Rain

Scientists are just now unlocking the amazing secrets of how rain is made; some raindrops form around micrometeorites from outer space, others are created by bacteria that float into the upper atmosphere.

2013 • Environment

Tsunamis

Which places on earth are poised to generate the next mega-tsunamis and the science of what happens as the wave emerges from open ocean and bears down on land.

2013 • Environment

Tides

Explore what drives the strange science behind places like Canada's Bay of Fundy-where water levels rise as much as 50 feet during high tide, and Alaska's Turnagain Arm, where 10-foot tall "bore waves" routinely wash in from the sea.

2013 • Environment

Volcanoes

Volcanoes have incredible effects on the weather; eruptions create localized weather phenomena like acid rain and violent volcanic lightning.

2013 • Environment

Gravity

NASA satellites have mapped Earth's gravity and discovered mysterious spots where gravity is weaker; how earthquakes change the planet's gravitational field.

2013 • Environment

Goldilocks

Venus and Mars show how inhospitable Earth could have been if things were just a little bit different.

2013 • Environment

Magnetic Shield

Earth's metallic core makes the planet a huge magnet, generating a magnetic field that protects us from dangerous cosmic rays and solar energy.

2013 • Environment

Blizzards

Blizzards; it's one of the Earth's most beautiful secrets until it turns into a storm that can bring entire cities to a grinding halt.

2013 • Environment

Strangest Places

Steamy underworlds hiding mysterious treasures, extreme waters teeming with unique life, and jarring rock formations made of frozen lava.

2013 • Environment

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The Census of Marine Life - a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, "What lives in the sea?" It was an international effort to asses the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in our ocean, and the project offically concluded in October 2010.

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Future Cities

It's amazing to think that in the 1900s a mere tenth of the world's population lived and worked in cities. Now it is over half. With soaring populations, how will we keep our cities live-able? And what will the city of tomorrow look like?

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Killer Floods

All over the world, scientists are discovering traces of ancient floods on a scale that dwarfs even the most severe flood disasters of recent times. What triggered these cataclysmic floods, and could they strike again? In the Channeled Scablands of Washington State, the level prairie gives way to bizarre, gargantuan rock formations: house-sized boulders seemingly dropped from the sky, a cliff carved by a waterfall twice the height of Niagara, and potholes large enough to swallow cars. Like forensic detectives at a crime scene, geologists study these strange features and reconstruct catastrophic Ice Age floods more powerful than all the world’s top ten rivers combined. NOVA follows their efforts to uncover the geologic fingerprints of other colossal megafloods in Iceland and, improbably, on the seabed of the English Channel. There, another deluge smashed through a land bridge connecting Britain and France hundreds of thousands of years ago and turned Britain into an island for the first time. These great disasters ripped through terrain and transformed continents in a matter of hours—and similar forces reawakened by climate change are posing an active threat to mountain communities throughout the world today.

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Global Weirding

Something weird seems to be happening to our weather - it appears to be getting more extreme. In the past few years we have shivered through two record-breaking cold winters and parts of the country have experienced intense droughts and torrential floods. It is a pattern that appears to be playing out across the globe. Hurricane chasers are recording bigger storms and in Texas, record-breaking rain has been followed by record-breaking drought. Horizon follows the scientists who are trying to understand what's been happening to our weather and investigates if these extremes are a taste of what is to come.

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The disaster began during a routine systems test at reactor number four of the Chernobyl plant located near the town of Pripyat, on April 26, 1986. After a power surge, an emergency shutdown was attempted and after a subsequent power spike, there was a reactor vessel rupture and a series of steam explosions. The cascading course of events led to exposing the graphite moderator of the reactor to the air, causing it to catch fire. This sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere. The fallout from Chernobyl prompted mass evacuations as it drifted over an extensive geographical area, including the western Soviet Union and Europe. Over 350,000 people were resettled from contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine. Thirty-one deaths are directly attributed to the accident, and all the deaths were among reactor staff and emergency workers. This is the kind of atmosphere Nelson and Ochota are investigating on Life After: Chernobyl as they attempt to determine how the radiation continues to impact the affected areas. They are allowed to stay for as long as they need to in order to conduct their ground-breaking research, but the duo must also be sure to take the necessary safety precautions. Broadway World noted in their Life After: Chernobyl article that by staying in the area for too long, the radiation exposure could reach dangerously high levels in their bodies, and they must always monitor the radiation levels.

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Islands of Fire

Few places on Earth remain largely untouched and uninhabited by humans, but such spots exist in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a vast chain of volcanic mountains that have surfaced as tiny, isolated islands thousands of miles from any mainland. These worlds serve as both playgrounds and sanctuaries, where some species struggle and others thrive. Discover the secrets of these little-known oases as we explore eight islands, from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

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