For centuries we have dreamt of reaching the centre of the Earth. Now scientists are uncovering a bizarre and alien world that lies 4,000 miles beneath our feet, unlike anything we know on the surface. It is a planet buried within the planet we know, where storms rage within a sea of white-hot metal and a giant forest of crystals make up a metal core the size of the Moon.
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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.
In the final episode of the series, Anita Rani investigates the tsunami of single-use plastic that parents pick up in the form of give-away toys. It turns out that McDonald's are the largest toy distributor in the world, handing out over 1.4 billion plastic toys per year worldwide. They claim on their website that they are recyclable, but a visit to Simon Ellin, the CEO of the Recycling Association, makes it very clear that while that may be true in theory, in reality it’s not that simple. Meanwhile, Hugh is in Scotland. He’s learnt that at the same time as the public are trying to reduce the amount of plastics in their lives, the plastics industry has big plans to increase plastic production by 50% before 2040. To find out more, he visits the INEOS factory in Grangemouth, owned by the richest man in Britain, where they produce a staggering 60-70 billion tiny plastic pellets every day.