“NATURE: LIVING VOLCANOES”

February 21, 2019 at 5:00 am

Nature brings us into the fascinating and dangerous world of “Living Volcanoes.” We have a preview of the adventure!

For more information on “Nature: Living Volcanoes,” click here.

Aired on February 20, 2019. 

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>> LAST MAY, THE KILAUEA
VOLCANO ERUPTED AND SPEWING LAVA
OVER AND BURYING HUNDREDS OF
HOMES BENEATH THE MOLTEN ROCK.
FRAGILE ECOSYSTEMS WERE
DESTROYED.
THE EVENT WAS THE LATEST VIVID
REMINDER OF THE AWE INSPIRING
POWER OF VOLCANOS.
SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN THE
SOURCE OF HUMAN FASCINATION FOR
THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
LIVING VOLCANOS, THE LATEST
INSTALLMENT FROM THE AWARD
WINNING PBS SERIES NATURE TAKES
VIEWERS ON THE MOST ACTIVE
VOLCANOS IN EARTH AND FOLLOWS
THE ADVENTURERS AS THEY GO INTO
THE SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND.
HERE'S A LOOK.
>> OUR PLANET IS BURSTING AT THE
SEAMS.
AROUND THE WORLD, HUNDREDS OF
VOLCANOS COULD EXPLODE WITHOUT
WARNING.
NOW WE CAN DESCEND TO THE EDGE
OF THE VOLCANO'S BEATING HEART.
>> THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST
INHOSPITABLE PLACES ON THE
PLANET.
>> AND DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO
THE ORIGINS OF LIFE.
>> MORE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN INTO
SPACE THAN INTO THE MAGICAL
PLACES.
>> AND JOINING US NOW TO TALK
ABOUT LIVING VOLCANOS IS NATURE
SERIES EDITOR, JENNA HESS.
WELCOME BACK TO THE PROBLEM.
>> THANK YOU.
>> QUICKLY, WHAT ARE VOLCANOS?
HOW DO THEY COME TO BE?
>> WELL, VOLCANOS IN AN AMAZING
WAY ARE KIND OF A LOOK INTO THE
CENTER OF THE EARTH.
THEY REALLY ARE A CRACK, AN
OPENING, A WEAKNESS IN THE CRUST
WHERE THAT VIOLENT CHURNING
THAT'S GOING ON DOWN EVEN INTO
THE CORE, BELOW EVEN THE MANTLE
IS CRACKING.
>> LIKE A VIOLENT PIMPLE --
>> THEY ARE.
SOME ARE BIG CRACKS, FISSURES.
THEY COME IN ALL DIFFERENT
SHAPES.
>> HOW MANY ACTIVE VOLCANOS
EXIST RIGHT NOW?
AND HOW MANY OF THEM ERUPT OR
ARE ON THE VERGE OF ERUPTING ON
A DAILY BASIS?
>> WELL, THIS SURPRISED US AND
IT'S ONE OF THE REASONS THAT WE
DID THIS SHOW.
IT TURNS OUT IT'S AN AVERAGE OF
30 VOLCANOS A DAY EVERY DAY THAT
ARE ERUPTING SOMEWHERE ON PLANET
EARTH.
>> THAT'S AMAZING.
>> I DON'T THINK -- I KNOW WE
DIDN'T REALIZE IT AND THAT
JUST -- AND PARTICULARLY IN THE
WAKE OF THE BIG KILAUEA VOLCANO
ERUPTION LAST YEAR IN 2018 IT
SEEMED LIKE A GREAT TIME TO TAKE
A LOOK AT THAT.
>> YOU KNOW, UNTIL I SAW THIS
DOCUMENTARY WHENEVER I THOUGHT
OF VOLCANOS ERUPTING I EQUATED
IT WITH, YOU KNOW, A TSUNAMI,
EARTHQUAKE.
DEVASTATING, TERRIBLE
DESTRUCTION.
AND THEY ARE THAT.
BUT THEY'RE ALSO THE OPPOSITE OF
THAT.
EXPLAIN HOW THAT IS.
>> WELL, VOLCANOS ARE -- CAN
ACCOMPANY EARTHQUAKES AND
THEY'RE IN THESE PLACE BRS --
PLACES WHERE THE PLATES ARE
WEAK, BUT THEY BRING THIS
MATERIAL UP FROM THE CENTER OF
THE EARTH.
IT'S OFTEN RICH IN MINERALS AND
SALTS AND THINGS THAT THEN
BECOME EXTREMELY VALUABLE FOR
LIFE.
THEY FERTILIZE AREAS FOR
HUNDREDS OF MILES AROUND.
AND THAT LAVA -- EACH VOLCANO
HAS A DIFFERENT CHEMICAL
COMPOSITION, SO THEY'RE KIND OF
PROVIDING DIFFERENT NUTRIENTS
AND THEY HAVE DIFFERENT
PERSONALITIES FOR THE LIFE THAT
BECOMES FOSTERED ON THEIR
FLANKS.
BUT THEY'RE SOURCES OF RICH
MINERALS THAT LIFE NEEDS.
SO THEY HAVE BECOME -- I MEAN,
RECENT SCIENCE REALLY SHOWS HOW
ESSENTIAL THEY HAVE BEEN.
>> ONE SCIENTIST SAYS WITHOUT
VOLCANOS THERE IS NO LIFE ON
EARTH.
IS THAT LIKE THE GENERAL
OPINION?
>> WELL, THAT REALLY COMES DOWN
TO THEIR CONTRIBUTION WHICH IS
WAY MORE THAN I KNEW TO WATER ON
EARTH.
>> EXPLAIN THAT.
BECAUSE THAT'S KIND OF A RECENT
DISCOVERY.
>> IT IS.
IT WAS TO ME.
AND I THINK THERE HAVE BEEN LOTS
OF THEORIES OF HOW WATER CAME TO
THE PLANET.
BUT I THINK THE CURRENT THINKING
NOW IS THAT WATER IS INHERENT IN
THE MAKEUP OF THE -- IT'S BURIED
BENEATH THE SURFACE AND IT'S
BURIED BENEATH THE CRUST AND HOW
IT GOT TO THE SURFACE AS IT CAME
UP AS GAS.
>> IT USED TO BE THOUGHT THAT
METEORS -- RIGHT?
>> YEAH.
COMETS COME IN WITH ICE AND THIS
AND THAT.
AND NO, IT SEEMS TO BE AN
INHERENT QUALITY TO THE PLANET
EARTH.
>> AMAZING.
NOW THE DOCUMENTARY TRAVELS THE
GLOBE AND VISITS THE VOLCANOS
AND THE AREAS SURROUNDING THE
VOLCANOS AND THEN THIS
INCREDIBLE -- THIS INCREDIBLY
DANGEROUS EXPEDITION TO THE
SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND WHERE
THERE'S A BIG, COMPLEX VOLCANO.
THEY WENT IN TO ONE CRATER, JUST
ALMOST TO THE EDGE OF THE LAVA
LAKE.
IT'S ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS
THINGS I HAVE SEEN ON NATURE FOR
SURE.
WHAT WAS SO IMPORTANT ABOUT WHAT
THEY WERE TRYING TO FIND THAT
WAS WORTH THIS RISK?
>> WELL, IT'S AN INTERESTING
INVESTORTION OF SOMETHING.
THEY'RE LOOKING FOR WHERE LIFE
STOPS.
LIFE IS UBIQUITOUS, DEEP INTO
THE CRUST.
THEY HAVE DRILLED 7 1/2 MILES
DOWN AND STILL FOUND ORGANIC
SINGLE CELLED ORGANISMS, DEEP
INTO THE CRUST.
SO THE QUESTION IS, THE
SCIENTISTS ON THE EXPEDITIONS
ARE LOOKING FOR THE MOST EXTREME
CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH LIFE CAN
EXIST.
ONE OF THE MOST HOSTILE PLACES
ON THE PLANET IS THIS CRATER
WITH AN UNUSUAL FEATURE OF THIS
LAVA LAKE.
SO THEY'RE TRYING TO GET AS
CLOSE AS THEY CAN TO THAT.
TO SEE THERE'S LIFE ON THE RIM,
COMING DOWN THE SIDE.
BUT WHERE CAN LIFE NO LONGER
SURVIVE ON PLANET EARTH?
>> AND THE REASON IS IT HELPS
THEM UNDERSTAND THE ORIGINS OF
LIFE HERE ON EARTH AND EQUALLY
AS IMPORTANT, IT GIVES THEM
CLUES ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF
LIVES ELSEWHERE ON OTHER
PLANETS.
>> IT'S AN EXPEDITION TO ANOTHER
WORLD AND WHAT ORGANISMS CAN
SURVIVE UNDER COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT CONDITIONS THAN WE
HAVE WITH OUR ATMOSPHERE AND
EVERYTHING ELSE THAT PROTECTS
LIFE HERE.
>> WELL, I'M GLAD THAT THE
SCIENTISTS SURVIVED.
>> OH, MY GOSH.
AND I THINK THE VISUALS IN THIS
FILM ARE SO SPECTACULAR.
>> EVERYBODY LOVES TO SEE AN
ERUPTING VOLCANO.
I'M SORRY, BUT MAYBE THE PEOPLE
RIGHT THERE.
>> BUT IT'S A SPECTACLE UNLIKE
ANYTHING ELSE THAT THE EARTH
PRODUCES AND EVEN SEEING THESE
FIGURES IN SUCH A LANDSCAPE
WORKING AND COMING DOWN WIRES
AND CLIMBING UP THE SIDES, YOU
JUST FEEL THE POWER OF THE
PLANET.
AND VOLCANOS ARE SOMETHING WE'LL
NEVER BE ABLE TO CONTROL.
>> WE HAVE LESS THAN A MINUTE.
I KNOW THIS IS NOT FAIR, BUT
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OTHER
VOLCANOS THAT YOU VISITED?
>> WE GO TO KILAUEA.
WE GO TO ETNA IN EUROPE IN
ITALY.
WE GO TO ONE OF THE BIG -- THE
VOLCANOS ON THE EAST AFRICAN
RIFT.
AND ECUADOR, UP IN THE ANDES.
OUT TO THE GALAPAGOS.
>> AS ALWAYS, NATURE GOES AROUND
THE WORLD AND IT'S BEAUTIFUL.
THERE'S A STORY IN EVERY ONE OF
THEM.
IT'S TERRIFIC.
THANKS FOR TALKING ABOUT THE
DOCUMENTARY.
>> THANK YOU.
>> NATURE, LIVING VOLCANOS,
PREMIERS WEDNESDAY AT 8:00 P.M.
YOU CAN VISIT THE WEBSITE.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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