Introduction: Earth - The Power of the Planet: Volcano (02:27)
Iain Stewart will examine the four powerful forces that have created the world. Eruptions are destructive, but part of a global system that creates life.
Ethiopian Expedition (04:20)
Stewart climbs to Erta Ale which has a permanent lake of molten lava. There is no water, shelter, or life in the Afar Region.
Lava Movement (04:19)
The process of lava welling up, forming a crust, and then sinking affects the entire planet. The history of Earth has been driven by the molten core; the core is as hot as the sun and fuels volcanoes.
Natural Hot Springs (03:25)
In Iceland, molten rock heats the water. Stewart describes how Surtsey formed in the same manner as Iceland.
Plate Tectonics (03:44)
Thingvellir is the site of a historical parliament and the Almannagja Fault. The North American plate travels across the United States. Stewart scuba dives in the chasm between it and the European plate.
Plate Movement (02:16)
Hot rock rises, moving plates apart. Continents move three-quarters of an inch annually. Stewart describes how Pangaea broke apart into seven distinct lands.
Mountain Formation (05:14)
The Pacific and Australian plates collide, forming New Zealand and the Southern Alps. Other ranges include the Andes, Himalayas, and the European Alps. In Northern Pakistan, an earthquake destroys the area around Muzaffarabad.
Land Erosion (03:01)
Rain occurs when the air cools and condenses against a range. Rivers carry silt from eroded rock to the oceans. Earth will become a water world if the plates stop moving.
Life's Origins (05:10)
Pools of hydrogen sulfide, hot water, and arsenic create microbes that feed on carbon dioxide; sulfur dioxide erupts from volcanoes. An alternative theory proposes that hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean have high temperatures and chemical byproducts that nurture life.
Atmosphere's Origins (09:44)
The sun burns hotter now than it did in the past. Volcanoes provide carbon dioxide, trapping oxygen in the atmosphere. Life evolves after Snowball Earth occurs; volcanoes erupt, saving the planet.
Evolutionary Leap (04:31)
Ediacaran biota erupt in the Flinders Ranges after Snowball Earth melts. Complex life forms have a head, skin, and internal organs. These creatures evolve into animals with rigid skeletons, claws, and armor.
Predator and Prey (05:37)
Multi-celled life explodes; only the fittest survive. Animals and plants emerge from the sea. Volcanoes regulate the temperature of the planet. Mount Etna and plankton control the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Volcanic Eruptions (04:47)
Mount St. Helen's erupts in 1980, spewing 2.8 million cubic meters of debris across the countryside. Mount Etna erupts in 1992; a farmer drinks a glass of wine and writes a thank you note before the lava arrives.
Credits; Earth - the Power of the Planet: Volcano (00:32)
Credits; Earth - the Power of the Planet: Volcano
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