How The Earth Was Made

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Upcoming episodes

Oct 2nd
800a

Rockies, The

From Alaska to New Mexico, the Rockies are one of the great mountain belts of the world--caused by tectonic forces of the Pacific Plate pushing against the North American continent. They have formed as the earth's continental crust has been shortened under pressure--by around 1 inch a year. What's more, they are still rising and they are still young in geologic terms: when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth they had not even started to form.
Oct 2nd
900a

Vesuvius

Mt. Vesuvius is the world's most dangerous volcano, and it threatens three million people. It was responsible for the most famous natural disaster of ancient history, the eruption that destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii. And its most recent blast was caught on film in 1944. Today Vesuvius is the most densely populated volcano in the world. Now recent scientific discoveries show that it is capable of an eruption larger than ever before thought possible and that hidden beneath Vesuvius there is a vast magma chamber of boiling hot rock, ready to come out.
Oct 9th
800a

Sahara

Africa's Sahara Desert is the size of the United States, making it the largest desert in the world. It's also the hottest place on the planet. But now an astonishing series of geological discoveries has revealed this searing wasteland hides a dramatically different past. Scientists have unearthed the fossils of whales, freshwater shells and even ancient human settlements. All clues to a story that would alter the course of human evolution and culminate in biggest climate change event of the last 10,000 years.
Oct 9th
900a

Everest

It is the tallest and biggest mountain on earth, as far removed from sea level as it's possible to be--and yet its sedimentary layers contain fossils that were once creatures that lived on the ocean seabed. The Himalayas formed when India smashed into Asia--propelled by plate tectonics. Everest is still rising but its height is limited--extreme erosion counteracts and limits the amount of uplift.
Oct 16th
800a

Ring Of Fire

The single longest linear feature on planet earth - it circles almost the entire Pacific - a ring of fire - a ring of active volcanoes from White Island just north of New Zealand, through the South China seas, Japan, Kamchatka, the Aleutians, the Cascades and down through the Andes it is almost 25,000 miles long and one of the most awesome sights on Earth.
Oct 16th
900a

America's Ice Age

Why do we have ice ages and when is the next one due? Chart the progress of different ice ages through the history of our planet, from Snowball Earth hundreds of millions of years ago to the recent ice ages. As the Earth circles the sun, its orbit changes slightly and so does it angle of rotation. When the right wobble in our rotation combines with the right orbit, the Earth is, and will again be, plunged into an ice age--but maybe not for a few thousand years.