65 Million Years ago, an asteroid impact caused a cascade of catastrophes that led to the downfall of the dinosaurs, but what would happen if the same size space rock struck near the same spot again?
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.
Off Australia's northeast coast lies a wonder of the world, a living structure so big it can be seen from space, more intricate and complex than any city, and so diverse it hosts a third of all fish species in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef as we know it -- 8,000 years old and home to thousands of marine species -- is dying in our lifetime.
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.
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?