Earth Images Foundation

Hawaii: Roots of Fire


Produced and directed by Diane LaMacchia and Doug Prose

Written and edited by Diane LaMacchia

Cinematography by Doug Prose

Graphics by Zsoka Barkacs

Music by Doug Prose and Stephen Spies

Narrated by Susan-Jane Harrison

This project was funded by the National Science Foundation Continental Dynamics and Informal Science Education Programs.

Check local PBS listings for show times

Watch the virtual podcast tour:
Geologic Tour of the Big Island.  
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The Film
Hawaii: Roots of Fire is a PBS documentary about the hidden forces that drive the planet's largest and most active volcanic system, the Hawaiian Islands.
The film follows earth scientists as they work among the volcanoes of the Big Island of Hawaii, pursuing clues and compiling evidence in a quest to shed new light on the mysterious inner Earth process that has been producing giant volcanoes in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for more than 75 million years. 

Scientists have long been puzzled over the source of the huge quantities of lava erupting out of Hawaii’s massive volcanoes.  Does the lava come from just below the Earth's crust?  Or does it come from much deeper, perhaps even as far down as the Earth's core, some 1,800 miles below the surface? 

The film focuses on an international team of scientists who take on these key questions with a major drilling project into the flanks of Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest volcano.

After years of painstaking research, startling new discoveries are made.  Not only have the scientists determined where the lava is coming from, but they have solved other long-standing mysteries about the workings of Hawaii's magnificent volcanoes.

Length: 27 minutes.  Released 2011.
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