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What causes volcanoes? What role do they play in the formation and maintenance of our planet? And is it ever possible to predict when and where they are about to erupt? This radio broadcast covers the science of volcanology; Earth's layers; the rising up of magma between tectonic plates; the difference between diffusive and explosive volcanoes; and the ongoing cooling of Earth since its formation, partially by the sheer magnitude of heat energy released in volcanic eruptions. There are explanations of how volcanoes created much of the atmosphere and oceans of Earth; the dynamics of volcanic plumes; how volcanoes affect weather and may have caused mass extinction events; and how volcanic ash causes fertile soil (and increases tourism). Many historic volcanic eruptions are discussed, including Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. and Mount Pinatubo in 1991; other volcanoes mentioned are Mount Etna and Mount Saint Helens. The broadcast is 42 minutes in length.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
  • General public
Type of resource:
  • Audio:
    • Radio broadcast
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
  • Natural hazards
Technical requirements:
RealPlayer plug-in
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use. You also agree not to adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any content except for your own personal, non-commercial use. Any other use of content requires the prior written permission of the BBC.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-007-809
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: BBC Radio 4

Editor: Melvyn Bragg
BBC Radio 4, In Our Time Radio Series