Killer Volcanoes

Scientists hunt for a mega-eruption that plunged medieval Earth into a deep freeze. Airing October 25, 2017 at 9 pm on PBS Aired October 25, 2017 on PBS

Program Description

Follow a team of volcano sleuths as they embark on a worldwide hunt for an elusive volcanic mega-eruption that plunged medieval Earth into a deep freeze. The mystery begins when archaeologists find a hastily dug mass grave of 4,000 men, women, and children in London. At first they assume it’s a plague pit from the Black Death, but when they date the bones, they turn out to be too old by a century. So what killed off these families? The chronicles of that time describe a run of wild weather that devastated crops and spread famine across Europe. NOVA’s expert team looks for the signature of a volcanic eruption big enough to have blasted a huge cloud of ash and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere, which chilled the entire planet. From Greenland to Antarctica, the team finds telltale “fingerprints” in ice and soil layers until, finally, they narrow down the culprit to a smoldering crater on a remote Indonesian island. Nearly 750 years ago, this volcano’s colossal explosion shot a million tons of rock and ash every second into the atmosphere. Across the globe, it turned summer into winter. What would happen if another such cataclysm struck again today?

Broadcast Credits

SERIES PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Oliver Twinch
EDITED BY
Ben Lavington Martin
FILMED BY
Nedjma Berder
Jay Dacey
Will Fewkes
Jean-Pierre Rivalain
Paul Williams
NARRATED BY
Craig Sechler
MUSIC BY
Stephen Baystead
ANIMATION
Moonraker VFX
ASSISTANT PRODUCER
Olive King
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Jackie Chivers
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Sarah Janalli
SOUND RECORDISTS AND DRONE OPERATOR
Robin Gobert
PRODUCTION FIXERS
Jungle Run Productions
ADDITIONAL MUSIC
Audio Network
ONLINE EDITOR
Tristan Lancey
COLORIST
Adam Dolniak
AUDIO MIX
Joe Cochrane
RESEARCH
Heather Cruickshank
Laura Mayne
Paul Satchell
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
123RF
AFP
AP Archive
BBC Motion Gallery/Getty Images
British Antarctic Survey
The British Library
Fredrik Holm
ISEV Media
Live Storms Media
MOLA
NASA
NHM Images
NEODAAS/University of Dundee
Pierre Lahitte
POND5
Sean Stiegemeier
Shutterstock
Science Photo Library
USGS
SPECIAL THANKS
Direktorat Jenderal KSDAE
Jean-Christophe Komorowski
Franck Lavigne
Stephen Sparks
Andrew Woods
——
FOR KWANZA
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Benjamin Ternynck
FOR BLINK FILMS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Dan Chambers
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION
Sarah Sapper
NOVA SERIES GRAPHICS
yU + co.
NOVA THEME MUSIC
Walter Werzowa
John Luker
Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
ADDITIONAL NOVA THEME MUSIC
Ray Loring
Rob Morsberger
CLOSED CAPTIONING
The Caption Center
POST PRODUCTION ONLINE EDITOR
Jim Ferguson
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Jennifer Welsh
PUBLICITY
Eileen Campion
Eddie Ward
ASSOCIATE RESEARCHER
Brian Kantor
SENIOR SCIENCE RESEARCHER
Caitlin Saks
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Linda Callahan
DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL AUDIENCE RESEARCH
Cory Allen
PARALEGAL
Sarah Erlandson
TALENT RELATIONS
Janice Flood
LEGAL COUNSEL
Susan Rosen
DIGITAL MANAGING PRODUCER
Kristine Allington
SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR
Tim De Chant
RIGHTS MANAGER
Lauren Miller
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Kevin Young
SENIOR PROMOTIONS PRODUCER AND EDITOR
Michael H. Amundson
BROADCAST MANAGER
Nathan Gunner
BUSINESS MANAGER
Ariam McCrary
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
David Condon
PROJECT DIRECTOR
Pamela Rosenstein
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Elizabeth Benjes
SENIOR SCIENCE EDITOR
Evan Hadingham
SENIOR PRODUCER
Chris Schmidt
SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER
Melanie Wallace
DIRECTOR, BUSINESS OPERATIONS & FINANCE
Laurie Cahalane
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Julia Cort
SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula S. Apsell

A NOVA Production by Blink Entertainment Ltd. for WGBH Boston in association with Kwanza SARL, Channel 4 and SBS-TV Australia with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union

© 2017 Blink Entertainment Ltd

All rights reserved

Additional Material © 2017 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

Original funding for this program was provided by Draper, 23andMe, the David H. Koch Fund for Science and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

IMAGE:

Image credit: (Tolbachik Volcano erupting)
© Sergey Gorshkov/ Minden Pictures

Participants

Agus Budi Santoso
Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation
Nelia Dunbar
New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
Devy Kamil Syahbana
Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation
Nugraha Kartadinata
Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation
Jean-Christophe Komorowski
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris
Franck Lavigne
University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne
Joe McConnell
Desert Research Institute
Michael Mills
National Center for Atmospheric Research
Lalu Napsiag
West Nusa Tenggara State Museum
Clive Oppenheimer
University of Cambridge
Indyo Pratomo
Geological Museum Bandung
Celine Vidal
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris
Don Walker
Museum of London Archaeology

Preview | 0:30

Full Program | 54:03

Full program available for streaming through

Watch Online
Full program available
Soon