BBC – Expedition Volcano (2017)
English | Documentary | Size: 2.35 GB
Chris Jackson, Xand Van Tulleken and Aldo Kane take part in an extraordinary expedition to one of the world’s most dangerous, spectacular and least known volcanoes.
Chapter 1: Nyiragongo
In the heart of Africa, deep in the Congo, is one of the most spectacular volcanoes on Earth – Nyiragongo. This spectacular volcano contains a massive boiling cauldron of molten rock – the world’s largest continually active lava lake. But it is also one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet. It has erupted twice in the last 50 years, most recently in 2002, wreaking havoc and destruction on the people who live in the nearby city of Goma. This region is also dangerous for another reason – it has been racked by war and humanitarian crises for most of the last 30 years, so Nyiragongo is one of the least studied active volcanoes on Earth.
But now, an international and local team of scientists are mounting a major expedition to study the volcano. They are attempting to discover the warning signs that it is building towards a new eruption, so they can alert the people of Goma before it erupts again. The team will take around four tonnes of climbing equipment, scientific instruments and supplies up to the crater rim. Then a small team will descend into the crater itself – 350m down a potentially deadly rockface – to spend a week camping right next to the lava lake. The expedition is led by Belgian scientist Dr Benoit Smets, who is an expert on Nyiragongo. He is joined by British geologist Prof Chris Jackson. Together, they work with the rest of the team using gas-sampling equipment, thermal cameras and sound waves to try and predict when the volcano will next erupt.
But there is another side to this volcano. As well as the threat of eruption, it impacts life in Goma and the surrounding area in many surprising ways. Humanitarian doctor Xand van Tulleken investigates how Nyiragongo has transformed people’s lives by looking at the hidden dangers – from deadly disease to suffocating gases. In charge of expedition logistics is former Royal Marine Aldo Kane. It is his job to get everyone in and out of the crater safely. But during the expedition, he will also risk his life to get the team as near to the lava lake as possible.
Chapter 2: Nyamulagira
In the heart of Africa, deep in the Congo, are some of the most spectacular volcanoes on Earth. They threaten the lives of more than a million people, in a region already left shattered by decades of violence.
Now, a team of international and local scientists are here to investigate these rarely visited volcanoes to try and predict when they will next erupt, and to examine how the volcanic forces at work here affect every aspect of life.
For the past week, the expedition has focused on Nyiragongo. Now Chris Jackson and his fellow geologists are heading to the nearby volcano Nyamulagira – one of the most active yet least explored volcanoes on the planet. Few have visited this volcano, for a good reason – the forests that blanket its slopes hide a number of armed groups. The team travel on a UN helicopter flight at treetop level to avoid being hit by groundfire, before landing as close to the active crater as they can. They then have only a few hours to gain as much data as possible to help predict future eruptions.
Beyond Nyamulagira lies a spectacular but dangerous volcanic landscape. The expedition will also explore the hidden dangers and natural wonders contained there – from deadly gases lurking under the vast Lake Kivu, to giant craters left over from sudden explosive eruptions.
Meanwhile, Dr Xand van Tulleken travels across the region to discover how the volcanoes influence every aspect of life here. He sees the legacy of violence created by the volcanic mineral riches. He also explores other natural resources that have the potential to break this cycle of violence, best represented by the mountain gorillas that live on the flanks of the volcanoes. And he meets the people most affected by the ongoing battle to wrest control of these natural resources away from criminal gangs and militias – the widows of park rangers killed in the struggle. Their commitment to protect their natural environment represents the best hope for the future of this troubled region.
Meanwhile, the work the scientists have done will enable local people to better manage the risks of living in such a dangerous part of the world.
Iceland Volcano: The Aftermath
Lost Land of the Volcano
Iceland Erupts: A Volcano Live Special