Hawaii: Roots of Fire
Hawaii: Roots of Fire Previous Broadcasts
KQED Plus: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 -- 9:30 PM
This documentary goes down below the Hawaiian Islands in a search for the hidden forces that drive the planet's largest and most active volcanic system. It follows earth scientists as they work among the volcanoes of the Big Island of Hawaii, pursuing clues and compiling evidence in a quest to shed new light on the mysterious inner Earth process that has been producing giant volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for more than 75 million years.
Scientists have long been puzzled over the source of the huge quantities of lava erupting out of Hawaii's massive volcanoes. Does the lava come from just below the Earth's crust? Or does it come from much deeper, perhaps even as far down as the Earth's core, some 1800 miles below the surface? The film focuses on an international team of scientists who boldly take on these key questions with a major drilling project into the flanks of Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest volcano. As their work progresses, another group of scientists embarks on a huge seismic study that deploys instruments on the islands and the seafloor surrounding them. After years of painstaking research, startling new discoveries are made. Not only do the scientists determine where the lava is coming from, but they solve other long-standing mysteries about the workings of Hawaii's magnificent volcanoes.