National Geographic Society

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Fires of Creation

Lava pour over the Pu'u O'o crater rim in an eruption of the Kilauea volcano.

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Dr. Ballard explores the history of volcanoes, and life on earth as he travels from the summit of Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii to the crown of its submerged cousin Loihi, a voyage that spans over 16,000 feet from top to bottom. His trip – from the lifeless world above the clouds, through the diverse ecosystems on the mountainside, and into the ocean deep – runs the gamut of life on earth.