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Buried in Ash

Program Overview

Ten million years ago, a huge volcano erupted in the region that is now Idaho. Dust and ash blew across the North American continent, leaving drifts as deep as 10 feet on the great plains. Thousands of prehistoric mammals suffocated. Today, their remains are being unearthed and investigated. Dr. Mike Voorhies, famed "bone hunter," takes NOVA on a tour of a fossil field in Nebraska, filled with the remains of many of the animals that once roamed North America. Findings from the field indicate that 10 to 12 million years ago, the region was a vast savannah populated by many kinds of animals. Some of the animals resembled present-day creatures, but many are extinct. The information collected by Voorhies' team creates a description of life in North America during the Miocene epoch.

Teacher's Guide
Buried in Ash

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