The Earth's surface is home to spectacular and frightening sights and experiences that hint at what is happening deep within the planet. Volcanoes and earthquakes are powerful evidence of the tectonic plates that grind against one another and the magma that rises through an inner layer known as the mantle.
Plate tectonics, a theory central to modern geology, explains so much of what we see happening around us. Through this theory, we now understand how mountains form, why there are different types of volcano, and how the land surface is constantly renewed.
The pages in this section contain video clips from popular television series such as Earth: Power of the Planet, presented by Iain Stewart, Horizon, Bang Goes the Theory, and How the Earth Made Us.
Image: Lava flows from Kilauea volcano into the sea in Hawaii (credit: Doug Perrine/naturepl.com)
Composite volcano eruptions are often the most deadly.
Rain, wind and ice constantly wear down the Earth's surface.
The Hawaiian islands owe their existence to a hotspot.
Asteroids and comets will continue to strike the Earth.
Earthquakes help geologists understand the Earth's inner structure.
Aa is a Hawaiian name for a type of lava.
Large bodies of molten rock exist below the Earth's surface.
New sections of the Earth's tectonic plates form deep in the oceans.
There are thousands of minerals on Earth.
Most mountains are formed at tectonic plate boundaries.
Earthquakes and volcanoes are common at plate boundaries.
A theory explains why many of the continents fit together.
Rocks are a valuable record of the Earth's history.
Shield volcanoes are huge, but less explosive.
In the past the continents have been joined together.
Rocks change their form over very long time periods.