Volcanoes have a fearsome reputation. In reality, they are the most important force in the creation of the planet as we know it today. Iain abseils into a lava lake and cave dives in a cenote to show how the heat that fuels volcanoes also drives some of the most fundamental processes on the planet.
Ice may be nothing more than frozen water but, as Iain explains, it holds extraordinary power. Descending 150m down a frozen waterfall, he sees a glacier in action from below and discovers why the huge Jacobshaven glacier is retreating, he shows how it shaped our past and may now threaten our future.
No season brings more surprises than an Alaskan summer. It lures hummingbirds up from the tropics, exposes deserts in the Arctic and relies on parachuting firefighters to tackle forest fires in its vast wilderness. Summer is a narrow window of plenty, when the land is bathed in 24-hour sunlight - but in this land of extremes, you can have too much of a good thing.
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.
The cloud forests in the Andes of Ecuador are among the most species-diverse landscapes on Earth. These beautiful forests are under threat. They have to give way to fields and cow pastures. But there are conservationists who want to stop the clearing of the cloud forests.
We all have a food footprint, but what foods create greenhouse gases? Craig Reucassel looks at different carbon footprints of the various foods we eat, and learns about the importance of where our food actually comes from.
How has a small place in northern Finland managed to become Europe's most eco-friendly town? Ii has slashed its CO2 emissions by 80% and is producing 10 times more renewable energy than it consumes. This community project could be an inspiration for us all - but such rapid change is not without opposition.
Geologist Prof Iain Stewart shows how the continent of Africa was formed from the wreckage of a long lost supercontinent. He discovers clues in its spectacular landmarks, mineral wealth and iconic wildlife, that help piece together the story of Africa's formation. But he also shows how this deep history has left its mark on the modern day Africa and the world.