How the Earth Works

Watch How the Earth Works

  • 2013
  • 1 Season
  • 7.3  (67)

How the Earth Works is a fascinating documentary series that explores the inner workings of our planet. Hosted by Liz Bonnin, Martin Pepper, and Michelle Thaller, the show takes viewers on a journey around the globe to reveal the geological processes that have shaped our world. From tectonic activity to volcanic eruptions, How the Earth Works seeks to shed light on the forces that drive our planet and the ways in which they impact all living things.

The show is divided into episodes, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the Earth's functioning. In "The Birth of the Earth", viewers are taken back in time to the moment when our planet was formed. Through stunning animation and expert commentary, the series explains how the Earth came to exist and how it evolved over billions of years. From there, the show moves on to explore topics such as plate tectonics, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

One of the show's most impressive features is its use of cutting-edge technology to explore the planet's geological processes. In "Volcano Time Bomb", for example, viewers are taken on a thrilling journey to the heart of an active volcano. Using state-of-the-art cameras and drones, the show captures footage of molten magma, exploding steam vents, and lava explosions in stunning detail, giving viewers an unprecedented look at the inner workings of one of our planet's most powerful natural phenomena.

How the Earth Works also has a strong focus on environmental science, exploring the ways in which human activity is impacting the planet's natural systems. In "Earth's Recipe for Life", for example, the show examines the role of carbon in the Earth's ecosystem and how rising carbon levels are contributing to climate change. The series also looks at the impact of deforestation, pollution, and other environmental issues, offering a sobering reminder of the urgency of preserving our planet for future generations.

Despite its heavy subject matter, How the Earth Works is also an entertaining and engaging show. The hosts have a great chemistry and are clearly passionate about the subject matter, making the series accessible and enjoyable for viewers of all ages. Each episode is beautifully shot, with stunning landscapes, incredible animation, and impressive special effects that bring the Earth's natural processes to life.

Overall, How the Earth Works is a must-watch series for anyone interested in science, geology, or the natural world. Through its exploration of the Earth's inner workings, the show offers a fascinating look at the forces that shape our planet and how they impact our lives. Whether you're a science enthusiast or simply a nature lover, How the Earth Works is sure to spark your curiosity and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the planet we call home.

How the Earth Works is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (46 episodes). The series first aired on October 9, 2013.

How the Earth Works
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The Lonely Planet
48. The Lonely Planet
December 21, 2023
What are the chances that there are other civilizations in our galaxy? Given the delicate balance of conditions that have allowed life to flourish on Earth, that number may be astonishingly small.
The Solar System
47. The Solar System
December 21, 2023
Although Earth is unique in our solar system for having complex life, it is not unique in geologic processes such as volcanism, earthquakes, mantle convection, erosion, and even stream and lake formation.
History of Life
46. History of Life
December 21, 2023
Life on Earth began at least 3.85 billion years ago, almost as soon as the conditions of a stable ocean would allow it. The path of evolution since then has been a remarkable one, and an integral part of Earth's story.
45. Humans
December 21, 2023
Life has been altering the planet over roughly the past 4 billion years. What is remarkable, however, is the rapidity with which humans have become Earth's most powerful agent of geologic change.
Renewable Energy Sources
44. Renewable Energy Sources
December 21, 2023
We will eventually get almost all of our energy from solar-driven sources. These include solar panels and passive solar heating. Wind power, hydroelectric power, and biomass are also ultimately derived from sunlight.
Plate Tectonics and Natural Resources
42. Plate Tectonics and Natural Resources
December 21, 2023
Did you ever wonder why there is gold in California, coal in Indiana, and oil in Iraq? During the natural process of plate tectonics, valuable metals and ores become concentrated to levels much higher than they normally exist.
Climate Change and Human History
41. Climate Change and Human History
December 21, 2023
The course of human civilization, which began at the same time as the warm, stable climates of the current interglacial period, is strongly tied to small changes in global and regional climates.
Short-Term Climate Change
40. Short-Term Climate Change
December 21, 2023
This lecture looks at climate change on timescales of decades to thousands of years. Several factors affect climate at these shorter timescales, among them variations in sunlight, ocean current fluctuations, and volcanoes.
Planetary Wobbles and the Last Ice Age
38. Planetary Wobbles and the Last Ice Age
December 21, 2023
There is a cyclical pattern in the alternation of cold glacial periods and warmer interglacials, primarily due to variations in Earth's orbital characteristics. These are called Milankovitch cycles.
37. Glaciers
December 21, 2023
Glaciers are slowly moving rivers of flowing ice. They are remarkably efficient agents of erosion, tearing away mountains faster than any other geologic process.
36. Shorelines
December 21, 2023
The pounding of ocean waves is so strong that it sets all the continents reverberating. Shorelines are energetic environments where wave energy erodes rock and transports the sediments that become sedimentary rocks.
35. Groundwater
December 21, 2023
There is 100 times more water in the ground than in streams and lakes combined. Groundwater rarely consists of underground rivers, but rather of water percolating slowly though tiny pore spaces within rocks.
34. Streams
December 21, 2023
Once sediment is eroded and moved downhill, streams do most of the work from there. Streams are like a giant network of highways, continuously carrying rock from the mountains to the sea.
Mass Wasting
33. Mass Wasting
December 21, 2023
Once rock is broken into sediment, gravity makes sure that it heads downhill. Such "mass wasting" can occur as quickly as a landslide or as slowly as the piecemeal creep caused by repeated freezing and thawing.
Jungles and Deserts
32. Jungles and Deserts
December 21, 2023
The circulation of air within the atmosphere occurs predominantly in the form of six large convecting cycles called Hadley, Ferrel, and Polar cells. These control the distribution of precipitation and therefore of ecosystems.
31. Erosion
December 21, 2023
A mountain on the Moon can last for billions of years, but the same mountain on Earth is worn down in only tens of millions of years. The reason is the rapid rate of erosion on Earth due to its atmosphere and hydrosphere.
Earth's Atmosphere
30. Earth's Atmosphere
December 21, 2023
Earth's gravity is strong enough to hold onto an atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen, while lighter gases have long since been lost to space. We explore the structure of the atmosphere and its circulation.
Water on Earth
29. Water on Earth
December 21, 2023
Earth is unique in the solar system for having liquid water at its surface. Water is the single most important substance on our planet, controlling much of geology and allowing for the evolution of life.
The Sun-Driven Hydrologic Cycle
28. The Sun-Driven Hydrologic Cycle
December 21, 2023
As fast as plate tectonics creates mountains, erosion tears them down. The principal agents of erosion are water and ice, which are part of a continuous cycle of moving water called the hydrologic cycle.
Assembling North America
27. Assembling North America
December 21, 2023
North America has a fascinating geologic history, having continuously grown in size through collisions with other continents. The process of growth has been very different on the East and West coasts.
History of Plate Motions
26. History of Plate Motions
December 21, 2023
Earth's tectonic plates have been moving for at least as long as scientists can see back into the geologic record. Over time the continental fragments collect into supercontinents and then break apart again.
Anatomy of an Earthquake
25. Anatomy of an Earthquake
December 21, 2023
The 2004 Sumatra earthquake produced a massive tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people around the Indian Ocean. We look at the complex tectonic forces behind this cataclysm.
Anatomy of a Volcano
24. Anatomy of a Volcano
December 21, 2023
We examine the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, triggered when an earthquake caused a gigantic avalanche that released pent-up magma and gases, leveling trees for over 600 square kilometers.
Predicting Natural Disasters
23. Predicting Natural Disasters
December 21, 2023
Volcanoes can be easily monitored, and they reveal many clues to an impending eruption as the magma slowly forces its way toward the surface. Earthquakes, by contrast, are not yet predictable.
Destruction from Volcanoes and Earthquakes
22. Destruction from Volcanoes and Earthquakes
December 21, 2023
The largest earthquakes and volcanic eruptions release as much energy as the simultaneous explosion of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. We look at the human consequences of these events.
Intraplate Volcanoes
21. Intraplate Volcanoes
December 21, 2023
For years intraplate volcanoes such as those that produced the Hawaiian Islands were lumped together under the catch-all name of "hot spots," but recent work is showing that Earth has many different ways of making a volcano.
Continents Collide and Mountains Are Made
20. Continents Collide and Mountains Are Made
December 21, 2023
When plate motions bring continents in contact with each other, the result is the formation of mountains. A notable example is the Himalayas, produced by the continental collision of India with China.
Subduction Zones
19. Subduction Zones
December 21, 2023
Subduction zones are the most geologically exciting places on Earth. Here the most destructive earthquakes and volcanoes occur, and forces are generated that may rip supercontinents apart.
Transform Faults
18. Transform Faults
December 21, 2023
The San Andreas is a transform fault that separates the North American and Pacific plates. Transform faults are actually rare on land, but mid-ocean ridges are intersected by countless such features.
Rifts and Ridges
17. Rifts and Ridges
December 21, 2023
Oceans undergo reincarnation: they repeatedly die and are reborn. The Atlantic Ocean is only 180 million years old and will eventually close up again. The Red Sea appears to be a new ocean in the making.
The Ocean Seafloor
16. The Ocean Seafloor
December 21, 2023
The seafloor shows a tremendous diversity of features that are related to plate tectonics and the process of mantle convection.
Plate Tectonics
15. Plate Tectonics
December 21, 2023
Continents move because they are the surface expression of mantle convection. Two main forces are directly responsible for plate motions: slab pull and ridge push.
14. Earthquakes
December 21, 2023
More than 200,000 earthquakes are recorded each year. We examine the types of faults along which they occur and the aftermath, which in some cases can leave the Earth ringing like a gong for months.
13. Folding
December 21, 2023
Most rock of the crust and mantle is solid. And yet, over long timescales, the crust and mantle are in motion, bending and flowing. This lecture shows how rocks deform in an elastic, plastic, or brittle manner.
12. Volcanoes
December 21, 2023
Volcanoes form where magma reaches the surface and erupts
11. Crystallization
December 21, 2023
When magma cools below certain temperatures, solid mineral crystals begin to grow. With continued cooling the entire magma will eventually crystallize, and the result is an igneous rock.
10. Magma
December 21, 2023
Most magma is generated beneath mid-ocean ridges, where plates move apart and rock moves toward the surface to fill the gaps. Magma forms in these places due to a process called pressure release.
9. Minerals
December 21, 2023
Rocks are made of minerals, which in turn are composed of different elements. Silicon and oxygen are the two most abundant elements in Earth's mantle and crust, and most rocks contain them.
Japanese Death Match
8. Japanese Death Match
November 27, 2013
Exploring volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan.
Ice Age or Hell Fire?
7. Ice Age or Hell Fire?
November 20, 2013
Geologist, Martin Pepper, and biologist, Liz Bonnin, explore North America in search of evidence of the most powerful geological events the Earth has ever seen -Ice Ages. Finding out how they have both carved the land and moulded life.
The Rockies Built the Atom Bomb
6. The Rockies Built the Atom Bomb
November 13, 2013
Geologist, Martin Pepper, and biologist, Liz Bonnin, travel to the iconic Rocky Mountains, to reveal the extraordinary link between the Rockies' soaring peaks and the uranium that ended up in ‘Little Boy', the atomic bomb detonated over the Japanese city
Will Europe Burn in Hell?
5. Will Europe Burn in Hell?
November 6, 2013
Biologist Liz Bonnin and Geologist Martin Pepper investigate the world's most dangerous volcano Mount Vesuvius only to discover that the three million people of Naples live in the shadow of another, much more deadly super volcano, called Campi Flegrei.
Will Hawaii Sink L.A.?
4. Will Hawaii Sink L.A.?
October 30, 2013
Exploring catastrophic geological events in Hawaii's history.
Will Iceland Poison the Skies?
3. Will Iceland Poison the Skies?
October 23, 2013
Examining whether Iceland's volcanoes could create global problems in the future.
Asteroid Armageddon
2. Asteroid Armageddon
October 16, 2013
Martin and Liz investigate a giant asteroid impact that may have wiped out the Dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Martin experiences the power of a NASA supergun and Liz follows the geological clues to Mexico where she dives an underground river.
Can Krakatoa Stop Time?
1. Can Krakatoa Stop Time?
October 9, 2013
An active volcano with the power to plunge the whole world into a brutal dark age is rising for the sea in the heart of the Asia. It's done it before - and it will erupt again.
Where to Watch How the Earth Works
How the Earth Works is available for streaming on the Science Channel website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch How the Earth Works on demand at Apple TV Channels, Discovery+, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Science Channel, Google Play, Apple TV and Tubi TV.
  • Premiere Date
    October 9, 2013
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (67)