There are forces on earth
capable of changing the terrain,
creating or obliterating entire islands
and causing natural transformations on a global scale.
Hundreds of millions of years ago,
These same forces began to form the first terrestrial landscapes
spreading various minerals throughout the primary rock.
These forces are so mysterious that
even the best researchers
equipped with the latest technology
cannot predict when they will once again
exert their powerful effects on the planet.
As you might have guessed,
I’m talking about volcanoes.
Thanks to movies and television,
most of you already have an idea of what they are
and how dangerous they can be.
Some of you, in fact, may have even seen these monsters
up close and personal.
Currently, there are more than
a thousand volcanoes in the world.
About 500 of them are active,
meaning that at any moment
they can wake up and erupt.
Eruptions occur when magma comes up to the surface.
The gas is trapped in the magma,
then escape into the atmosphere.
Next, the magma turns into lava,
which can devastate the surrounding areas
in a matter of hours.
As the speed of a lava flow
can reach several meters per second and
its temperature exceed 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit
or 1,200 Celsius.
It would seem that life existing
anywhere close to these geological giants
should be simply impossible.
But what if I told you, it isn’t so?
In ancient times, people living near volcanoes
believed that gods live deep
inside these exploding mountains.
Millennia have now passed and
scientific research has reached the point
where people can finally meet
the mystical inhabitants
of these mounds of irreptitious exuberance.
In the 1980s,
in and around volcanoes, bacteria were discovered.
They live at temperatures
exceeding the boiling point of water.
At the time, this discovery was
astonishing and inconceivable.
As the structure of DNA had been
shown to be destroyed
at a much lower temperature of
176 degrees Fahrenheit
or about 80 Celsius.
But these bacteria not only did
swimmingly well in the scorching heat,
they also astoundingly died
when placed in cold water.
Small underwater volcanoes found on the ocean floor
at a depth of between two to four kilometers
also turned out to be
particularly rich in biodiversity.
The temperature around these volcanoes
is well above the DNA destroying life killing level.
Additionally, the deep-sea water pressure there
is crushingly enormous.
And to top it off, the water itself
is saturated with numerous dangerous heavy metals,
poisonous hydrogen sulfide and
a variety of other noxious and toxic substances.
Nevertheless, around 400 different species
make their home in the areas around these
gas and lava spewing geological formations.
And in addition to the various unicellular organisms,
this hearty crowd also includes a variety of
各种蠕虫 虾 蟹和海蛇
worms, shrimps, crabs and sea snakes.
And the surprises don’t end there, either.
More recently, in the crater of
the under-sea Kavachi volcano in the Pacific Ocean
at a depth of 45 metres,
scientists discovered something truly astonishing.
While surveying the depths of the Pacific Ocean,
some National Geographic field researchers
decided to look at what was happening
near the little-known Kavachi volcano.
The eruption of which in 2003
resulted in the appearance of a new island on world maps.
After lowering a submersible camera
to a depth equal to the height of a 17-story building,
right into the opening of the crater,
they were treated to a spectacle
that surpassed their wildest expectations.
In the crater of the Kavachi volcano, life is flourishing.
There are huge shoals of fish,
great numbers of various rays
and swarms of jellyfish.
Such a fantastic picture puzzled the scientists.
All these creatures seemed totally at ease
in these seemingly inhospitable conditions.
Swimming carelessly in the
blistering hot highly acidic water.
As if that weren’t surprising enough,
when watching the recording,
the researchers were utterly bewildered to see
several species of sharks of all things.
This discovery was truly staggering
the existence of some bacteria
in this unforgiving environment
could still somehow be explained.
But no one could even remotely suspect
that such complex organisms
as sharks could adapt to
these harsh and forbidding conditions.
There is as yet no plausible answer to the question
as to why the animals chose
this particular place as their habitat.
But despite their bizarre choice of living arrangements,
it looks as though these creatures
are doing more than well enough.
Having somehow managed to adapt,
they’ve become the sole possessors of
this precarious environment.
In fact, thriving on all of the vital resources it offers,
it remains to be seen.
However, how long they’ll be able to
enjoy their deep-sea idle?
As you’ve probably guessed,
it would take just a single minor eruption
of such a volcano to wipe out all nearby life.
All those schools of fish,
myriads of rays and jellyfish, groups of sharks
and other animals including bacteria
would shuffle off this mortal coil
in a matter of minutes.
But these brave death-defying
creatures made their choice,
though unwittingly to live on top of a powder keg.
If several representatives of a few
widely distributed species suddenly disappeared,
it probably wouldn’t be the greatest tragedy for mother earth.
Unlike the sudden disappearance of mankind
or worse, all life on the planet.
Believe it or not, volcanoes could bring about
just such an event
or to be more precise, super volcanoes could.
Out in the great expanses of North America,
in the US state of Wyoming lies Yellowstone National Park,
one of the country’s top natural landmarks,
this site’s unsurpassed beauty and
plethora of wildlife attract millions of tourists every year.
But this abundance of natural splendor
could disappear in a split second.
The majority of Yellowstone Park
is located on top of the Yellowstone Caldera.
In simpler terms,
it is in the crater of a giant supervolcano.
one which occupies an area of more than 1,700 square miles.
That’s 4,400 square kilometres.
Think of it as four hundred twenty thousand soccer fields.
This immense feature that underlies the park was
only recently discovered in the second half of the last century.
Thanks to satellite photography.
Even now, it turns out a huge bubble of magma,
sits ominously five miles below the surface,
with the temperature of its molten contents
reaching a staggering 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit
or 815 Celsius.
This discovery caused quite a lot of excitement
and obviously consternation among volcanologists.
After all, if such a giant suddenly became active,
all life on the planet would be in jeopardy.
During studies of the Yellowstone
supervolcano in its geological history,
researchers discovered that this monster
has erupted several times in the past.
As a result, of one of these eruptions,
的一次火山爆发中 北美大陆90 %
several million years ago, 90% of the territory of
the North American continent was covered in volcanic ash.
Currently the Yellowstone caldera is ringed with
a dozen seismological and thermal research stations
that record every minu change
in the super volcanoes activity.
The scientists studying this geological monstrosity
understand better than anyone
that should the Yellowstone supervolcano wake up.
Life as we know it today might well be over.
And there are plenty of reasons to consider this a real possibility.
The intervals between eruptions have been getting shorter
after each occurrence.
True, given the geological scale of these intervals.
At first glance, this information has no
practical significance for us humble human beings.
taking into account that the Yellowstone supervolcano
erupted two million years ago,
then 1.3 million years ago and finally 600,000 years ago.
The US Geological Society forecast that
the next awakening of this
volcanic mega monster should occur
no earlier than 20,000 years from now.
However, due to increased activity
observed from the volcano recently,
the calculations have changed
and the new forecast is extremely disturbing.
The latest calculations showed that
a new catastrophe could be expected
as early as the year two thou…
Well, I should stop blathering and chit chattering.
Be well, everyone.
We’ll revisit this forecast in later episodes
as I have more curious tidings
on this charming subject to share with you.