UPDATE | May 2018: With the recent eruptions at the summit of Kilauea resulting in dangerous conditions for residents, scientists and concerned citizens alike are directing their attention to this Big Island volcano to learn more about its activity and ecosystem.
Kilauea continually molds Hawaii’s Big Island. Creating new land, shaping ancient forests and carving tunnels through the earth, the volcano fascinates a dedicated group of scientists and filmmakers who follow its every action. Using innovative new imaging technologies to map the magma chamber, following the lava’s heat along its journey underground, and listening to the constant noises of its movements, geologists map the shifting liquid earth as they work to understand its awesome force.
Ejecting fire, molten rock, giant boulders and poisonous gases, the volcano can be a hazard for researchers, homeowners, plants and animals, but it doesn’t just leave destruction in its wake. Twists and turns in the lava’s flow leave some patches of original ecosystems, called kipukas, undisturbed. These oases of life provide a haven to many rare creatures — including the Hawaiian state bird, the Nene — but remain in constant danger from the volcano and from invasive species. Below the surface, inactive lava tubes provide homes for many unique species of darkness-loving creatures called troglobites.
At the end of its journey, the lava meets the ocean. Braving an extremely hot sea, filmmakers record the birth of new land and the incredible phenomenon of pillow lava – a bizarre and truly magical sight to behold.
Violent and beautiful, destructive and creative, Kilauea: Mountain of Fire explores the incredible power of the volcano and the challenges of life in its shadow.
Production Credits Print
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM
Post Production Supervisor
USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY
HAWAI’I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
DR. GEORGE H. BALAZS
BENJAMIN A. BROOKS, Ph.D.
CAL DORN AND PARADISE HELICOPTERS
DAVID OKITA AND VOLCANO HELICOPTERS
THE BIG ISLAND FILM OFFICE
HAWAI’I STATE FILM OFFICE
PAUL C. BANKO, Ph.D.
MIKE MOORE AND THE USGS WESTERN REGION LIBRARY
GRS SYSTEMS INC.
PUMP MUSIC LIBRARY
VOLCANO VIDEO PRODUCTIONS
IRENE TEJARATCHI HESS
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN
Executive In Charge
A Production of Pangolin Pictures and Thirteen in association with WNET.ORG and National Geographic Channel International
This program was produced by Thirteen, which is solely responsible for its content.
© 2009 WNET.ORG
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Director of Digital Strategy
Director of Production
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
Writer for "Hawaii's Vulnerable Biodiversity" and "Interview: Milton Garces"
Writer for "Introduction" and "Interactive Map"
Photos for “Introduction” by Joey Allen © WNET.ORG. Photo for “Ask the Producer” courtesy of Kevin Bachar. Other images from Kilauea: Mountain of Fire.
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