NHNZ and Edge West dig into Volcano science for Discovery Channel’s CURIOSITY series:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Discovery Channel has commissioned NHNZ to produce a one-hour special on the science of predicting volcanoes for the channel’s high-profile Curiosity series.

Volcano Time Bomb shows the latest work in the world of volcano eruption forecasting and to see how powerful science can be in helping to understand volcanism. No simple science given that each volcano is different, and there are 1500 of them around the world – 169 in the US alone.

With a tight schedule, and a gruelling list of shoots, including many North American sites NHNZ executive producers Craig Meade and Phil Fairclough worked with producer Phil Day from Edge West in Los Angeles to produce the show.

To understand the science, the crew had to follow the scientists and get up close to the action at nine volcanoes around the world – all of them active, and two of them erupting. For Phil Day, the chance to produce this show was a no-brainer.

“As a kid one of my favorite books was Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Their point of entry was an extinct volcano in Iceland – and I know there actually is an extinct volcano in Iceland that you can now go down inside – and I was absolutely desperate to see it – so for me it was the adventure of a lifetime. But more than that, it’s the power of volcanoes that fascinates me. As explorer Geoff Mackley says in the film ‘It’s kind of hard to describe the amount of power required to boil rock and throw it through the air like water‘. And it truly is.

“I think Volcano Time Bomb brings a really important reality to the audience – monitoring and predicting when the most dangerous volcanoes will next erupt is fast becoming a crucial science for our society’s long-term survival,” says Phil Day.

NHNZ EP and EVP Development, Phil Fairclough saw Volcano Time Bomb grow out of a pitch originally calledThe End of the World: Live.

“Our original idea was to see what events might actually have the power to bring about the end of the world, if it was going to happen on Dec 21 2012, when the Mayan calendar ends. We quickly boiled it down to a discussion of volcanoes, as the most devastating force on Planet Earth…and the least predictable force of nature about which very little is understood, especially in the field of forecasting.

“And surprisingly, in North America, we are all much more at risk of the effects of a volcanic eruption than most of us know. A big eruption of a super volcano has the power to bring the entire US to a standstill and kill millions. We are all sitting on a volcano time bomb.”

Volcano Time Bomb premières on Discovery Channel’s CURIOSITY series on Sunday, December 9 at 9 PM.

CURIOSITY on Discovery Channel brings the ‘I wonder?’ moment to television with a unique array of provocative subjects. Testing theories on a scale never done before, CURIOSITY looks at the science behind the world’s most mysterious places and events.

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