Dangerous Earth: Fire (02:15)
Helen Czerski speaks about the natural wonders of the Earth and uses high tech cameras and imaging systems to investigate natural phenomenon in ways never seen before. See footage of volcanic eruptions and lightning strikes.
Mt. Ontake Eruption (02:44)
Czerski introduces eyewitness footage of the eruption of Mt. Ontake in Japan. Clues from the footage explain why the volcanic eruption was not predicted.
Mt. Nyiragongo (05:15)
Czerski travels to Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to speak with scientists studying the volcano in the hopes of predicting eruptions. Dario Tedesco leads a team of scientists in gathering a sample from Nyiragongo's lava lake. Geologist Tom Darrah explains why Nyiragongo's lava is so fast moving.
Types of Volcanic Eruption (05:37)
Czerski explains the difference between the two main types of volcanic eruption and talks about the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Volcanologist Emma Liu explains whyy the Eyjafjallajökull ash was so uniquely dangerous.
Mt. Tavurvur and Puyehue-Cordón Caulle (06:07)
Czerski introduces footage by Phil McNamara capturing a violent eruption in Papua New Guinea. Hugh Tuffen traveled to the area to study the unique rhyolitic lava that came from an eruption in Chile in 2011.
Studying Eruptions (01:51)
Scientists film the eruption of Mt. Stromboli in Italy with ultraviolet cameras to see the escape of invisible gasses. Scientists film the eruption of Mount Yasur in Vanuatu with cameras capable of capturing up to 1,000 frames per second to better understand high speed lava bombs.
Lightning Footage (04:30)
Czerski explains the phenomenon of lightning strikes and atmospheric electric charges. Lightning charges are built up by ice crystals interacting in the atmosphere and building up negative charges.
High Speed Lightning Photography (05:44)
Tom Warner uses high speed cameras to film lightning strikes in Rapid City, South Dakota. Czerski shows the first known photograph of lightning, a daguerreotype from 1847. See footage of a rare upward traveling lightning strike.
Spacecraft and Aircraft (03:23)
Czerski tells the story of the Apollo 12 moon mission that was struck by lightning seconds after liftoff. John Madura explains what caused the Apollo 12 lightning strike. Every commercial airliner is struck by lightning at least once per year.
Changes in Airplane Design (03:10)
Stephen Haigh speaks about the new dangers to aircraft that are designed with carbon fiber materials rather than aluminum. Czerski narrates an experiment meant to discern how new materials are vulnerable to lightning strikes.
Struck by Lightning (03:09)
Lightning strike victims explain what they felt when they were struck by lightning. Mary Anne Cooper explains the effects of a lightning strike on a human body.
Czerski speaks about the rare phenomenon known as a sprite, huge atmospheric electrical discharges that last only 1/1000th of a second. Scientists fly a specially equipped plane into storm systems to attempt to record sprites with high speed, low light cameras.
Credits: Fire (00:35)
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