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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Restless Planet for describing some
of the foundamental forces that have shaped our planet.

Restless Planet

Restless Planet (2005) - 275 minutes
Restless Planet at Amazon.com

Experience the devastating power of explosive volcanoes, ground-buckling earthquakes, deadly tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis as National Geographic heads into the field with scientists who risk their lives to study these fearsome natural phenomena. Featuring over five hours of programming, Restless Planet captures extraordinary scenes of destruction from the air, the ground and from inside a tornado and the moving, human side of the story from tales of heroism and tragedy to dedicated teams of experts racing to understand and ultimately better predict the deadly forces of nature.

Restless Planets includes:

  • Disk 1: Volcano: Nature's Inferno
  • Disk 2: Tsunami: Killer Wave
  • Disk 3: Tornado Intercept
  • Disk 4: Nature's Fury
  • Disk 5: Storm of the Century

1-4-17 Molten iron river discovered speeding beneath Russia and Canada
Molten iron river discovered speeding beneath Russia and Canada
DEEP below our planet’s surface, a molten jet of iron, nearly as hot as the surface of the sun, is picking up speed. This stream of liquid some 420 kilometres wide has been discovered by telltale magnetic field readings 3000 kilometres below North America and Russia. It has trebled in speed since 2000, and is now circulating westwards at between 40 and 45 kilometres per year, heading from deep under Siberia towards the underside of Europe (see diagram). That is three times as fast as the typical speeds of liquid in the outer core. No one knows yet why the jet has got faster, but the team that made the discovery thinks it is a natural phenomenon, and can help us understand the formation of Earth’s magnetic fields, which keep us safe from solar winds. “It’s a remarkable discovery,” says Phil Livermore at the University of Leeds, UK, who led the team. “We’ve known that the liquid core is moving around, but our observations haven’t been sufficient until now to see this jet.” “We know more about the sun than the Earth’s core,” says team member Chris Finlay from the Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby. “The discovery of this jet is an exciting step in learning more about our planet’s inner workings.” What made the discovery possible was the combined monitoring power of the European Space Agency’s trio of satellites, called Swarm, which were launched in 2013. From orbit, they can measure magnetic field variations down to 3000 kilometres below Earth’s surface, where the molten core meets the solid mantle.

1-3-17 'Better estimate' of volcanic ash cloud return
'Better estimate' of volcanic ash cloud return
Potentially disruptive volcanic ash clouds across Northern Europe occur more frequently than previously thought, according to new research. Scientists investigated known and newly identified records of ash fall deposits over the past few thousand years and concluded the average return rate to be about 44 years. Previous research had put the recurrence at roughly 56 years. The source of the ash is almost always from Iceland. In 2010, the island’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, throwing some 250 million tonnes of fine particles into the atmosphere that grounded planes across Europe. The eruption of Grímsvötn the following year also disrupted air traffic - albeit on a much smaller scale. But despite these two recent, closely spaced events, the team behind the latest research says the general frequency of volcanic ash clouds over Northern Europe is still generally quite low.

11-4-16 Huge lake discovered 15 kilometres under a volcano
Huge lake discovered 15 kilometres under a volcano
The discovery of a vast reservoir of water – as big as the largest freshwater lakes – could help reveal how eruptions occur, and how continental crust forms. Our planet is blue inside and out. A massive reservoir of water has been discovered deep beneath a volcano in the Andes, and Earth’s interior may be dotted with similar wet pockets lurking below other major volcanoes. The unexpected water, which is mixed with partially melted magma, could help to explain why and how eruptions happen. This water may also be playing a role in the formation of the continental crust we live on, and could be further evidence that our planet has had water circulating in its interior since its formation.

11-1-16 Mount St. Helens is a cold-hearted volcano
Mount St. Helens is a cold-hearted volcano
Scientists are still searching for the source of volcano’s heat. While a volcano called Mt. Adams is fed by an obvious heat source, Mount St. Helens sits above a wedge of rock formed at the edge (or “cold nose”) of the North American tectonic plate. Below most volcanoes, Earth packs some serious deep heat. Mount St. Helens is a standout exception, suggests a new study. Cold rock lurks under this active Washington volcano. Using data from a seismic survey (that included setting off 23 explosions around the volcano), Steven Hansen, a geophysicist at the University of New Mexico, peeked 40 kilometers under Mount St. Helens. That’s where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate melts as it sinks into the hot mantle beneath the North American plate, fueling an arc of volcanoes that line up like lights on a runway. All except for Mount St. Helens, which stands apart about 50 kilometers to the west. Still, Hansen and colleagues expected to see a heat source under Mount St. Helens, as seen at other volcanoes. Instead, thermal modeling revealed a wedge of a rock called serpentinite that’s too cool to be a volcano’s source of heat, the researchers report November 1 in Nature Communications. “This hasn't really been seen below any active arc volcanoes before,” Hansen says.

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Restless Planet

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Restless Planet for describing some
of the foundamental forces that have shaped our planet.