Naked Science – The Deep

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What would you see if you could drain the ocean?

Well if you were patient enough, you’d see a conveyor belt moving. This film tells the story of the moving sea floor, from its formation at the mid-ocean ridges, to its demise in the deep-sea trenches thousands of miles away. We compress a journey that takes 200 million years into an incident packed 50 minutes.

We start with the mystery of Hawaii, an island that is sinking, and moving. But why? The first clue came in the Second World War, when a US landing craft commander deduced that the sea floor was moving. To discover why, we dive to the strange underwater world of the ocean ridges where volcanic rock spewing out of the earth creates new sea floor. This is the realm of black smokers, and white chimneys, hydrothermal vents that create their own ecosystem.

From here we descend to the flat landscape of the abyssal plain, where the only features are decaying whale carcasses. Even here, the evidence shows that the seabed is moving. Finally, we see strange mud volcanoes thrown up as the sea floor descends into the deepest part of the ocean, and melts back into the mantle of the earth.

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