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NOVA: Deadliest Earthquakes

Airs Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Damaged buildings in Talca, Chile, 2010. In 2010, epic earthquakes all over the planet delivered one of the worst annual death tolls ever recorded. NOVA follows teams of scientists in Haiti and Chile after the deadly quakes in those countries as they try to gather data to aid in preventing future disasters.

Explore the science behind the headlines in PBS’ premier science series. With compelling stories and spectacular visuals, NOVA programs demystify science and technology for viewers of all ages and spotlight people involved in scientific pursuits.

Damaged apartment block in Concepcion, Chile, 2010
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Above: Damaged apartment block in Concepcion, Chile, 2010

Courtesy of WGBH

Tsunami damaged house in Dichato, Chile.

Find the Tectonic Fault

In 2008, geophysicist Beatrice Magnani and her team discovered a previously unknown fault deep beneath Memphis, Tennessee, in an area home to millions of people. The fault could still be active and, if so, could potentially release a major earthquake. In this interactive, see if you can find the new fault within a so-called "seismic section," a picture of the subsurface created with sound.

"Deadliest Earthquakes" - In 2010, epic earthquakes all over the planet delivered one of the worst annual death tolls ever recorded. The deadliest strike was in Haiti, where a quake just southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince, killed more than 200,000, reducing homes, hospitals, schools, and the presidential palace to rubble.

In exclusive coverage, a NOVA camera crew follows a team of U.S. geologists as they first enter Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. It is a race against time as they hunt for crucial evidence that will help them determine exactly what happened deep underground and what the risks are of a new killer quake.

Barely a month after the Haiti quake, Chile was struck by a quake 100 times more powerful, unleashing a tsunami that put the entire Pacific coast on high alert. In a coastal town devastated by the rushing wave, NOVA follows a team of geologists as they battle aftershocks to measure the displacement caused by the earthquake.

Could their work, and the work of geologists at earthquake hot-spots around the U.S., one day lead to a breakthrough in predicting quakes before they happen? NOVA investigates new leads in its investigation of a deadly scientific conundrum.

Past episodes of NOVA are available for online viewing. NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

Video

Preview: NOVA: Deadliest Earthquakes

Above: In 2010, epic earthquakes all over the planet delivered one of the worst annual death tolls ever recorded. In exclusive coverage, a NOVA camera crew follows a team of U.S. geologists as they first enter Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. Barely a month after the Haiti quake, Chile was struck by a quake 100 times more powerful, unleashing a tsunami that put the entire Pacific coast on high alert. In a coastal town devastated by the rushing wave, NOVA follows a team of geologists as they battle aftershocks to measure the displacement caused by the earthquake.