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NATURE: Violent Hawaii

Airs Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Like a chimney on the roof of Hades, an opening in the earth belches fire from the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hawaii's breathtaking beauty was forged in fire, created by the awesome power of volcanoes on land and in the sea, by earthquakes and tsunamis, natural wonders that continue to shape the islands today. Shot in high definition by a team of award-winning filmmakers who live on the islands, this spectacular film features volcanic eruptions, rivers of molten lava, monster waves, humpback whales and perhaps most surprising of all, snow.

Geologists investigating the Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii arrive for work by chopper.
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Above: Geologists investigating the Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii arrive for work by chopper.

On the north shore of Maui waves that originate as far away as Siberia sometimes rise to as much as 70 feet as they break here, earning both the waves and the beach the nickname “Jaws.” Monster waves like these are seen rarely, but lifeguards are vigilant in their efforts to spot them because they can swallow a person in an instant.

Still, surfers come from all over the world for a single ride on these shores that may last less than half a minute. Far deadlier than the waves at Jaws are tsunamis. These fast-moving walls of water are triggered by earthquakes or landslides and have killed more people in Hawaii than any other natural disasters.

NATURE "Violent Hawaii" reveals a tropical paradise shaped by the most brutal forces of the natural world.

Watch an excerpt from the program below, and the entire episode is available for online viewing. Don't miss the a photo gallery of volcanoes.

Video

Video Excerpt: Nature: Violent Hawaii

Above: This is a clip from the PBS program "Nature: Violent Hawaii." Surfers come to Hawaii in search of the biggest waves around. Lifeguards keep them safe.

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