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Descent Into the Ice

Program Overview

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Sketch of ice tunnel NOVA follows glaciologists into the underworld of Mont Blanc, where they search for internal lakes.

The program:

  • revisits the 1892 disaster in which a hidden lake burst forth from a glacier on the French side of Mont Blanc, killing more than 100 people.

  • features glaciologist Luc Moreau, who explores a "water well" (an ice shaft formed by meltwater) to try to predict future flood events.

  • explains how a glacier forms.

  • relates some of the problems of being in an unstable environment, where water is always changing from liquid to solid and back again.

  • follows Moreau into his lab inside Mont Blanc's Argentiere Glacier, where he measures the movement of the glacier and tries to determine where the water flows.

  • introduces Carsten Peter, an ice adventurer who explores and photographs ice caves.

  • features Peter's dive into a water well inside the Mer de Glace, the largest glacier on Mont Blanc, and shows all the equipment needed to make a dive at extremely cold temperatures and at high altitude.

  • shows the methods Peter and Moreau use to try to determine whether there are any interior lakes.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Descent Into the Ice
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