These brief video segments can be used alone or in combination, to introduce a topic or to spark discussion among your students. The video segments can be adapted for any grade level – suggested focus questions are provided. Stream the video segments from the playlist below, or scroll to the bottom of the page to find downloadable QuickTime versions of the videos. These videos are also used in the lesson plan Feeling Hot! Hot! Hot! (grades 9-12). (To view segments from “Violent Hawaii” on weathering and erosion, click here.)
Volcanic action constantly changes the composition and landscape of the Hawaiian Islands. These excerpts from the NATURE episode “Violent Hawaii” demonstrate how volcanic islands are formed, and how scientists can discover a lot about volcanoes by studying lava and eruptions.
Volcanoes form when magma from beneath the Earth’s crust breaks through the surface and erupts. As the erupting lava cools, new islands are created. Every several thousand years, a new island emerges from the sea. It is immediately exposed to winds and rain that erode its surface, but seeds and spores, blown by the wind, become embedded in the newly-formed soil. In a relatively short period of time, the barren rock surface is transformed into a lush tropical island. Today, lava flows from active volcanoes can provide information about underground magma flow, yielding information about potential future eruptions. In spite of scientific advances, however, there is not yet a method for predicting volcanic eruptions with complete accuracy.
Suggested Focus Questions:
Clip 1: A Land Born in Fire
- Where is Pu’u O’o located, and for how long has it been erupting?
- What are some ways that scientists attempt to forecast volcanic activity?
- How might scientists use and interpret the information obtained from lava samples?
Clip 2: How to Build an Island from Scratch?
- On which tectonic plate are the Hawaiian Islands located?
- Describe the process by which hotspot island chains are formed.
- Can you think of other islands or island chains around the world? By which processes might they have been formed?
Clip 3: Creating an Island Paradise
- How long will it take for the transformation of the barren volcanic rock?
- Describe the process by which the underground volcano will form the lush tropical island Lo’i'hi.
- Think about the other Hawaiian Islands. What processes were involved in their formation?
Downloadable QuickTime versions of the video segments:
(Note: To download a video, right-click on the video title and click “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”. On a Mac, press the CTRL key and simultaneously click the mouse, then save the link.)
Clip 1, “A Land Born in Fire”
Clip 2, “How to Build an Island From Scratch”
Clip 3, “Creating an Island Paradise“