Solid Water Liquid Rock – Antarctica

Solid Water Liquid RockIce and fire meet dramatically on the world’s most southern volcano – Antarctica’s Mount Erebus. This film is an adventurous journey from the base of the volcano 300m under the sea to inside the erupting crater 3500m above sea level.
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Ice and fire meet dramatically on the world’s most southern volcano – Antarctica’s Mount Erebus. This film is an adventurous journey from the base of the volcano 300m under the sea to inside the erupting crater 3500m above sea level. See this extreme landscape, revealed as never before.

As the film journeys from the volcano’s base to its summit, we will compare the formation of ice crystals from water and snow with the formation of crystalline rock for lava.

We start 1,500 feet underwater, where the previously unseen sea floor will be revealed by TVNZ’s Remote Operated Vehicle. There should be a covering of fine volcanic sediment carried off Erebus by glaciers, and there will be strange creatures, including giant sponges, giant sea-spiders, and fish which use anti-freeze to survive in the sub-zero water.

We trek to the summit at 12,500 feet. Because the atmosphere is thinner near the South Pole it is like breathing the air on a 15,000 feet mountain – difficult. Anytime the temperature rises to minus 30 degrees Celsius it is a warm day.

Yet there is life. The volcanic fire has warmed and exposed some areas, and growing here is a species of moss normally found only in warm climates. Nearby, weird chimneys of ice have formed from the steam escaping from fumaroles. Lava bombs can be found – reminders of a constant hazard.

The crowning glory of Erebus is its convecting lava lake – one of only a few in the world. Erebus is also one of the few volcanoes which have broken through the middle of a continental plate. Volcanologists make regular pilgrimages to Erebus because it yields valuable knowledge about our earth’s molten centre.

However, no one can stay on the summit for long because of the difficulty of working in the cold and thin air, and because of the constant danger of eruption.

Awards and Honors:
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union – ABU Prizes, Best Information Programme, Winner
IWFF International Wildlife Film Festival, For Difficult-to-Obtain Footage, For Artistic Balance in Underwater Footage, Merit Awards
New York Festival, Nature and Wildlife, Single Programme – Gold World Medal
New Zealand Film and Television Awards, Best Photography TV, Best Music TV, Best Director, TV
World Festival of Underwater Pictures, Best documentary, Prix du Documentaire

NTSC 4:3; Total Running Time: 50-minutes
Produced by Natural History New Zealand In Association with Discovery Productions & RAI 3
© 1993 Natural History New Zealand Ltd. – All Rights Reserved

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Mount Erebus – Antarctic Volcano

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