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NATURE: Kilauea: Mountain Of Fire

Airs Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Kilauea, on Hawaii’s Big Island, is the world’s most active volcano.

Kilauea, on Hawaii’s Big Island, is the world’s most active volcano. Its latest eruption began in 1983 and hasn’t stopped. Since that time, it has created 544 acres of new land and consumed 200 homes. But as we watch nature’s own fireworks display and witness the devastation wrought by flowing lava, we’ve also been able to observe a process that’s central to life on these islands.

Map

Follow the lava flow with this interactive map.

Aerial view of the Waikupanaha ocean entry.
Enlarge this image

Above: Aerial view of the Waikupanaha ocean entry.

The most spectacular moment of creation is when lava pours into the ocean creating new land; it is here that filmmaker Paul Atkins finds himself getting a shot few have ever filmed — the cataclysmic meeting of 2,000-degree lava and 75-degree ocean water — a 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.

This program originally aired in 2009.

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Video

Full Episode: Nature: Kilauea: Mountain Of Fire

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Watch Kilauea: Mountain of Fire on PBS. See more from Nature.

Video

Video Excerpt: Nature: Kilauea: Mountain Of Fire: Sea Turtles

Above: Kilauea's lava flows have created a fertile feeding ground for turtles just offshore. Green sea turtles are drawn here by bountiful seaweed and the black sand beaches that are a favorite basking ground. Hunting and egg harvesting nearly brought the turtles to the brink, but marine biologist George Balazs runs a conservation program that has been tagging turtles since 1978.

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