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Discovery
 
Antarctica
 

Antarctica: Parts 1-4

 

In this four-part series, science writer and broadcaster Gabrielle Walker joined scientists from the British Antarctic Survey on board HMS Endurance as they sailed to the last great wilderness on Earth.

Programme 1 - Air and Ice
Gabrielle travels to Mt Haddington on James Ross Island at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, there she joins the scientists drilling an ice core to recover the climate record over the last thirty thousand years.

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Programme 2 - Fire and Ice
HMS Endurance travels to remote, ice-covered islands where occasional rocks poke through the snow to tell a 200 million year story of continental break-up that has isolated Antarctica in deep-freeze.
They discover a tiny creature that has shared that isolation for 40 million years, hear how the continent may be splitting once more and go in search of rare minerals spewed up from deep within the Earth's mantle.

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Programme 3 - Water and Ice
Gabrielle Walker joins glaciologists to find out about the movement and flow of ice. Antarctica may seem a vast, silent, unchanging continent. But ice does not stay still.
In places, beneath the ice there is water - melted by the pressure, by geothermal springs, even by active volcanoes we never see. But just how is the ice moving and what does the future hold?

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Programme 4 - Life and Ice
Antarctica is one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth. Although nutrient-rich waters around it support creatures from plankton to penguins, the land itself seems like a frozen desert, but even here there is life.
Gabrielle Walker goes 'on safari' with biologists searching for tiny creatures from soil and rock crevices and discovers the lions and elephants of this miniature ecosystem. They are revealing the secrets of their survival and clues to the future of sensitive ecosystems worldwide.

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First broadcast April 2008


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