What would happen if all of the world’s volcanoes erupted on a single day? That is the magma-fueled thought experiment at the core of “V-Day: Volcanic Planet” as we follow scientists deploying the latest technology to better understand these forces of nature. There are more than 1,400 active volcanoes around the world, and odds are 20 are erupting right now. No two are exactly alike. Some erupt with astonishing speed and force. Others create massive ash clouds, deadly mudslides or lava that smothers hundreds – or even thousands – of square kilometers. Yet without volcanoes, life as we know it would not exist.
Drawing on the expertise of the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, we’ll see the incredible ways volcanoes might blow, whether they boil below the ocean floor or tower over a major city. We join scientists as they race to understand and predict volcanic behavior. Among them are: Emma Liu from the University of Cambridge, who treks for hours to reach a bubbling lava lake at the summit of Villaricca, one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, and John Howell from the University of Aberdeen who uses a drone to monitor the unstable slopes of Italy’s Stromboli for subtle changes that could indicate a deadly landslide is brewing.
Spectacular footage of past and current eruptions, combined with computer animation based upon the latest scientific discoveries, puts us right in the heart of volcanoes. Then, by speeding up the action into a single day, we get a breathtaking new perspective on the remarkable forces that have shaped our planet for millions of years.
Watch on The Smithsonian Channel