Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I always just kind of assumed it was The Universe's 5th Grade Science Fair Project.

There is a supabad program on The Hitlery History Channel right now called How the Earth was Made.
Apparently, it's been on for a little while now, but as usual, I'm the last one to the party. (I've still never seen one second of "24".)

It is a series of shows about the creation of a few specific locations on earth. So far, episode subjects have included Hawaii, Krakatoa, Iceland, New York, Yellowstone, and the Marianas Trench. They call it "Mariana", though. That's annoying, like people who say HAR-rassment and Sa-CA-gawea. I learned it as Marianas, Marianas is prettier, and I'll be damned if I'm going to change now. Sod off, History Channel.


All of the episodes are interesting, but my personal favorites have been the ones on Krakatoa and Hawaii. Ever since childhood, volcanoes in general and Krakatoa specifically have scared me. ("Thrilled" scared, not scared-scared.) I did find myself yelling at the TV though because the narrator kept insisting that Krakatoa erupted and "caught everyone by surprise" and that "no one had any idea that anything bad was going to happen."

Excuse me, History Channel, but Discovery Channel begs to differ. In the excellent program "Krakatoa: Volcano of Destruction", the diary of Johanna Beyerinck of Ketimbang plays a starring role. From the time the pre-eruption earthquakes began and all through the minor eruptions in the summer of 1883, Johanna was pleading with her husband to get the family out of there. He didn't listen to his silly wife, of course, and Johanna's 14-month old infant died and the rest of the family barely escaped when Krakatoa erupted for the final time.

The Hawaii program was fascinating and, for someone whose brother lives on Maui, pretty nervewracking. Let me just say something: Hawaii. is. a. freaking. timebomb, y'all.
Hawaii is to natural disaster as Michelangelo is to ceiling painters.
Hawaii, like so many other beautiful places on earth, is beautiful because it was created by chaos and destruction and wackiness. My favorite part of the program dealt with the famous Wailau Landslide which created the world's steepest sea cliffs and (bonus!) a tsunami 2,000 feet high.
25 miles of Molokai just broke off one day, and the landslide was so huge and moving so fast that it tumbled out 120 MILES offshore. Not only that, the last 80 MILES of its journey was UPHILL, climbing 900 feet out of the Hawaiian Deep. As the geologist on the program said, "1,400,000 years ago was a very bad day in Hawaii."
And sometimes my hair gets frizzy in the Florida humidity.

Watch this show, and then go curl up in a ball in the corner to await your inevitable annihilation. Thanks for nothing, Earth.

Above: Beautiful Molokai

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