British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Earth Story (8 Parts)

Synopsis
Aubrey Manning presents a series on geological history, unfolding the recent story of how scientists have come to understand the mechanics of our dynamic planet. The 8 programmes took 3 years to make, cost £3 million and were filmed all over the world, from the craters of volcanoes to the ocean floor. Where the cameras could not go, in both time and space, animation techniques are used. A combination of live-action footage and computer graphics provide a feeling of travelling backwards and forwards through time on this is journey of scientific discovery, providing a comprehensive history of life - in all its forms - on the planet.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Year of release
2006
Year of production
1998
Notes
Broadcast in 8 weekly parts on BBC 2 beginning 1/11/1998. The series was repeated beginning 8/1/2001 and on BBC4 on 13/8/02.
Subjects
Geology
Keywords
climate change; continental drift; ice ages; origins of life; plate tectonics; solar system; volcanoes

Credits

Contributor
Aubrey Manning

Distribution Formats

Type
DVD
Format
Region 1
Price
£19.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
400 minutes
Year
2006

Sections

Title
Time Travellers, The
Synopsis
In this programme Aubrey Manning explores the quest to establish the age of the Earth, a journey that takes him from Lyme Regis to the Barbeton Mountain Land in a remote corner South Africa and to Isua at the edge of the great Greenland Ice Cap, searching for the oldest place on Earth whose rocks may yield up their extraordinary secrets
Duration
50 mins

Title
Deep, The
Synopsis
This edition explores the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Aubrey Manning joins British geologist Susan Humphris in the research submarine ‘Alvin’ on a dive to the world’s longest mountain range, 2,000 metres below the surface, to discover the link between submarine volcanos, the shape of the continents and the origins of life. Here
the temperature hovers just above zero, with occasional jets of water boiling at 300 degrees celsius. The trip fills in many of the gaps in the history of Earth and may hold the key to how the surface of the planet is created and constantly renewed. Discusses the work of Alfred Wegener, who posited the theory of continental drift
Duration
50 mins

Title
Ring of Fire
Synopsis
In this programme, Manning travels from Bolivia to Alaska and New Zealand to explore the formation of the continents, tracing the link between the ring of volcanos round the Pacific Rim, an Alaskan earthquake and the water of the Pacific to show how one and the same process formed all the rocks in the world. An Alaskan earthquake in 1964 led geologist George Plafker to suggest the theory of plate tectonics, which says that the entire surface of the world is in constant motion and that around the Pacific the ocean floor is sliding back into the planet’s interior beneath the neighbouring continents, causing the earthquakes that are common in countries on the Pacific rim.
Duration
50 mins

Title
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Synopsis
Aubrey Manning looks at what drives the Earth’s restless volcanic activity. Filmed among the active volcanos of Hawaii and Iceland, this programme uncovers the events deep within the planet which have reshaped its surface
He also visits the Kanheri Caves in Western India and looks at the research done by scientists in Sweden that may reveal what causes plate tectonics.
Duration
50 mins

Title
Roof of the World, The
Synopsis
This documentary shows that, far from being fixed, mountains are constantly changing, flowing up and down due to plate tectonics. Death Valley in California, the lowest place on Earth, used to be a high plateau like Tibet, but it has collapsed nearly one-and-a-half kilometres over the last 16 million years. Greece is sinking at the rate of about four centimetres per year and the Himalayas are growing by approximately one centimetre a year. With contributions from Oxford geologist Philip England, Professor Bob Spicer (Open University), and British geologist Mike Searle.
Duration
50 mins

Title
Big Freeze, The
Synopsis
The programme demonstrates evidence that suggests all the continents in the southern hemisphere, including India and Australia, were in the grip of an ice age 300 million years ago and 12,000 years ago and the Alps were buried under 3km of ice. It is suggested that present conditions could be just a temporary warm interlude. Includes contributions from: Danish geologist Niels Gundestrup and South African geologist Maarten de Wit.
Duration
50 mins

Title
Living Earth, The
Synopsis
Aubrey Manning traces the history of life on Earth and discovers how chance events have influenced the way that life has evolved. South African geologist Maarten de Wit shows Manning the place where the first fossilised bacteria have been found, they then travel to Australia to see the rare living fossils stromatolites. Manning also meets with Rick Potts from the Smithsonian Institute. He is researching evidence that suggests climate fluctuations may have led to the evolution of homo sapiens
Duration
50 mins

Title
World Apart, A
Synopsis
Aubrey Manning sets out to discover why, unlike our planetary neighbours, the Earth is a living planet. Although Mars is now too cold to sustain life and Venus too hot, recent probes have shown that many years ago both were similar to the Earth, with volcanoes and earthquakes just like our planet. This programme investigates what caused the differences and explains what has kept Earth inhabitable for the past four billion years. The answer seems to be the interplay between plate tectonics and life itself, so the biological and geological activity are dependent on each other.
Duration
50 mins

Production Company

Name

BBC Television

Distributor

Name

BBC Shop

Email
bbcshop@bbc.co.uk
Web
http://www.bbcshop.com External site opens in new window
Phone
0844 848 9799
Fax
01795 414 555
Address
PO Box 308
Sittingbourne
ME9 8LW
Notes
The BBC Shop closed on March 29th 2016. It was replaced by the BBC Store (www.bbcstore.com) where many BBC programmes can be bought and downloaded in digital format only. The BBC continues to make many of its programmes available on DVD and Blu-Ray but these are now only available from other online retailers.
 

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