NOVA: Making North America
TV-G – 3 Episodes (60 min) – Documentary
Making North America: Origins
Part 1 of 3. The history of North America, from how it was created to the evolution of life on the continent, is charted by Kirk Johnson of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. First up: the forces that created North America. Johnson travels to the Grand Canyon, where billion year-old rock layers are observed; and visits Alaska, where a fossil proves that palm trees once flourished there. Also: a gigantic lava flows that once threatened to split the continent.
Making North America: Life
Part 2 of 3. How life emerged in North America; and why the continent was home to many iconic dinosaurs, including the T. rex. Included: a diving expedition off the Bahamas spotlights rare living fossils; and a trip to the Badlands of North Dakota and desert wilderness of southern Utah highlights dinosaur discoveries. Also: evidence of the catastrophic asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs; and why North America was mostly primate-free until the arrival of humans.
Making North America: Human
Conclusion. The history of North America since the arrival of humans is chronicled. Natural resources, including gold and oil, have enabled humans to transform the land almost as much as the geological forces that created it. However, geology may, some day, play another role in reshaping the continent: the Cascadia fault line in the Pacific Northwest could unleash a massive earthquake and tsunami; and the super-volcano beneath Yellowstone could obliterate half the continent if it erupts.