Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Supervolcano Uncorks A Hit
I've been so enthralled previewing TV's midseason shows that I almost forgot to screen Supervolcano, the new and very scary "what if" documentary premiering on CBC-TV's Doc Zone Thursday January 3 at 9 p.m.
Maybe it's just that time of the year when I begin to worry about all the possible scenarios that could go wrong. Heck, being a confirmed pessimist I even watched the U.S. Congress lurch toward a fiscal cliff with some trepidation.
But Supervolcano: Yellowstone's Fury (the full title) is extremely chilling because it is all so very true. And there's nothing much anybody can do except wait and prepare for the worst.
Yeah, I know the thought of Old Faithful bubbling forth into a killer volcano seems rather silly.
But there are signs the volcano rumbling deep inside Yellowstone National Park could erupt --or it could still send out earthquakes for thousands of more years before another world shattering eruption.
The volcano erupts every 600,000 years or so --the last one hit well before recorded civilization but that could have been about 620,000. years back.
But there have been signs of late: bison suddenly dying from gasses percolating up from the underground crater, an increase in seismic activity.
What is certain is that when it does erupt it will be a very big one.
By contrast the April 2010 volcano on Iceland was a relatively small affair. However, it disrupted air travel for weeks with its flow of ash over western Europe.
In 1980 Mount Saint Helen's erupted and blew a mountain top off and was considered relatively minor to what Yellowstone is capable of producing.
This time scientists are fearlessly predicting an eruption with the capacity of 100 nuclear bombs. The crater alone would build to about 2/3 the size of Prince Edward Island.
Not only would the American Mid-west be affected so would such Canadian cities including Regina and Calgary and even Toronto.
The ash would stifle food production for up to six years and cause a lowering in temperature by as much as 10 degrees Celsius.
Producer -writer Dave Brady and writer-director Maryanne Alton have done a superlative job of assembling the experts and marshaling their clips to build the case in an entirely persuasive manner. One survivor of the 1959 Yellowstone quake says he wakened up to see a gigantic boulder flatten the tent where his parents were sleeping.
One big plus: cinematographer Damir Chytil's gorgeous photography which captures the sheer beauty of the park --underneath there lurks this incredible force of energy that one day will surely blow sky high again.
If you believe the possible scenario outlined here you should immediately begin stockpiling food for the anticipated six years of famine. Or you could pray the quake doesn't hit until the time of your great grandchildren,
SUPERVOLCANO PREMIERES ON CBC-S DOC ZONE THURSDAY JANUARY 3 AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***1/2.