Introduction: Violent (01:26)
Pacific means peaceful, but the largest ocean on the planet is dangerous. Predators, weather systems, and man make it a savage habitat.
Atomic Testing (04:44)
Many sunken ships lie off Bikini Atoll, remnants of nuclear bomb experiments conducted in the 1950s; the Castle Bravo test produced an explosion 1000 times greater than Hiroshima, creating a three mile wide fireball eliminating all life in its path. Doctor Stephen Palumbi investigates Bravo Crater, a scar visible from space; its walls are barren, but life is returning within.
Heat Run (03:39)
Every winter, humpback whales migrate to Maui to mate; males outnumber females, creating harsh competition. See single bulls attempt to force their way between a female and suitor; he releases a warning bubble stream, overpowers a rival, and returns to his partner; the fight for her company is one of many he must win to retain breeding privileges.
Saltwater crocodiles are territorial; on Palawan Island, males clash over breeding rights, and the largest dominate; less than one percent reach adulthood. Juveniles migrate for weeks despite not being designed to constantly swim; metabolism and rest make the journey to a new, peaceful home possible.
Snake Island (05:30)
On Shedao Island, 20,000 deadly pit vipers reside without food most the year. During their autumn migration, millions of songbirds rest there, providing the vipers with a two week feast. The snakes perch, wait and strike; they can swallow three birds a day, taking opportunity to hunt until the cycle of fasting and sleeping renews.
Lembeh Strait (06:19)
The strong, constant current of Lembeh Strait prevents reefs from forming and inspired an evolutionary arms race among inhabitants. Some Frogfish camouflage with sponges and wait for prey to wander near; Hairy Frogfish blend with fire sea urchins to hunt fish seeking their protection. The Carrier Crab kidnaps sea urchins for defense; Venomous Star Gazers and Bobbit Worms bury themselves in the sand to spring at food as it swims over.
Ring of Fire (04:36)
The Pacific Ocean is encircled by a 25,000 mile arch of volcanoes and seismic activity created by plate tectonics. White Island has been active for 150,000 years; fumaroles blow hot gas, creating toxic sulfur deposits; in 1913, mining was attempted, but a super-heated avalanche killed everyone in 1914. Extremophiles reside in the 122 degree crater lake, tinting it green; the microbes resemble Earth's first lifeforms.
Turtle Mountain Island (02:33)
In Taiwan, where two tectonic plates collide, vents pump out 240 degree toxic, sulfurous gases; Sulfur Vent Crabs live along them, having evolved the ability to neutralize emitted acids. They dine on zooplankton that die from passing too close to the hazardous plumes.
Tropical Storms (03:38)
Typhoons and cyclones rage across the Pacific Ocean at least two dozen times a year; super typhoons can release energy two hundred times greater than all combined power stations on Earth. Blueberry Hermit Crabs take advantage of garbage swept onshore in the events; watch them carefully select new homes from beached debris.
Silver Dragon (03:37)
Every September, Hangzhou Bay awaits a massive tidal wave brought on by the lunar cycle; it grows to thirty feet high as it moves up the mouth of Qiantang River at twenty five miles an hour. During the tenth century, the Qing Dynasty built sea walls to protect the harbor city. See surfers compete on the tidal bore.
Milne Bay (02:37)
In the jungles off Milne Bay, a cleft in the rocks reveals a crypt filled with hundreds of human skulls being slowly wrapped by a crystal substance. How they arrived there is debated; rumors of head hunters persist, but others argue that ancestors were honored at the site.
Bikini Atoll Radiation (06:45)
Bunkers built to survive atomic blasts confirm that Bikini Atoll was once human occupied. Radiation from Cold War era nuclear tests spread across globe, but is concentrated in the soil; plants are laced with cancerous isotopes. Coconut Crabs reclaimed the isle and feast on tainted food; Palumbi conducts a coral study; life is returning to the area, but shows evidence of mutation.
Epilogue: Violent (02:09)
Human violence has impacted the Pacific Ocean. Sunken World War II planes litter the seabed, creating artificial reefs and providing refuge to many species. (Credits)
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