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Waves of Destruction


Premiere: Monday, July 20, 1998 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS.
(Watch for repeat showings on your local PBS station.)

Deep beneath the ocean's surface, a massive earthquake triggers a series of shuddering waves. Traveling at over 500 miles per hour, they race across the sea to discharge their tremendous force upon unsuspecting shores, sometimes halfway across the globe. The phenomenon, called tsunami, is the focus of the final program, WAVES OF DESTRUCTION. From remote Okushiri Island, off the coast of northern Japan, to Hawaii, survivors give first-hand reports of the devastating power of tsunami and tell how they managed to escape.

Link to QuickTime movie

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A tsunami survivor describes the experience (2.4 MB).

As the series draws to a conclusion, the final episode also explores the many -- sometimes extraordinary -- ways that humans endeavor to predict and survive these seismic nightmares. In Japan, viewers hear how the odd behavior of sea lions foreshadowed the Kobe quake. In California, a woman believes her headaches tell her where, and when, the next quake is going to strike.

Despite the best efforts, however, earthquakes remain remarkably unpredictable. China has made intensive efforts to predict quakes, but, in 1976, more than 250,000 people died in Tangshan, China, in the century's most savage blow from the savage earth. Viewers of this final episode will not soon forget the bitter story of Wang Shu Bin, a miner who struggled in absolute darkness for eight days in a futile effort to help his wife, Jin Fung, as she lay just out of reach. The story is a testament not only to human love but to the uncaring power of the earth.

Overview  |  Program 1: Hell's Crust  |  Program 2: The Restless Planet
Program 3: Out of the Inferno  |  Program 4: Waves of Destruction

About the Series | TV Schedule | Video Ordering Information


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