“Arizona is one of the most diverse and complex and exciting
Two billion years in the making, Arizona's landscape is recognized worldwide. The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Kartchner Caverns — the diversity of natural forces that created these wonders are unique to our state. Forged by fire, submerged in water and buried by earth, the stories are not found on the surface. These stories are under Arizona.
Under Arizona also unveils out-of-the-ordinary phenomena: from the strange substance at the bottom of Montezuma Well to the mystery of the World War II B-29 bomber hidden for decades at the bottom of Lake Mead. Under Arizona airs on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 at 8 p.m. on Eight, Arizona PBS.
“Arizona lives and dies by its geology. It's critical for our water. It's critical for the minerals that drive our economy. What is under Arizona is critical to every decision we make during the day,” says Lee Allison.
Under Arizona 's perspective is unprecedented, taking viewers on a journey from its core to the surface in three thrilling chapters: Fire, Water, and Earth.
Chapter One: FIRE
Geological History – Arizona's violent, volcanic past
Much of Arizona's geology is the result of millions of years of volcanic
explosions. The Valley of the Sun's South Mountain is the survivor of the
rupturing and collision of earth's crust. East of Phoenix, the Superstition
Mountains were once an enormous stratovolcano. And San Francisco Mountain,
also known as San Francisco Peaks, is the largest volcano in Northern Arizona
and the highest point in all the state. Today, more than 460 volcanoes
dot an 18,000 mile square area known as the San Francisco Volcanic Field.
Minerals, Crystals, and Gems
Gold, silver, and copper are but a few of the precious minerals found
in Arizona. Quartz, turquoise, calcite, azurite, and many other stunningly
beautiful crystals and gems are the result of hundreds of thousands of
years of pressure and heat. Under Arizona offers an up-close-and-personal
view of these treasures.
Chapter Two: WATER
With thirteen thousand feet of passages and three ‘rooms' as long as football fields, it's Arizona's massive limestone cave. Eight cameras offer a view as never seen before.
Aquifers and Lakes
Under Arizona investigates the out-of-the-ordinary findings at Montezuma Well.
“If you go down into the waters, you're almost immediately confronted with a flurry of leeches that are a couple of inches long that seem to be feeding on amphipods. So, you're starting off with a very, a very unusual place. And the bottom you find is moving around. It's going around in concentric circles. It had been described as mush cooking, as oatmeal, as silica gel, everything you could think of. When it comes right down to it, I think our group probably has had the most personal experience down there. And we don't know what the heck it is,” says Dan Lenihan, Underwater Archeologist, National Park Service.
A recent exploration at Lake Powell revealed remains of dinosaur tracks in Arizona. Eight/KAET-TV was there for the discovery.
“The Colorado Plateau (in Northern Arizona) is one of the treasure troves for the history of dinosaurs. It was preserved for so long and all these mountain building episodes, all these volcanoes, really didn't disrupt that area,” said Lee Allison, State Geologist of Arizona, Director of Arizona Geological Survey. “So the sediments were preserved, flat lying, undeformed and so a few million years go by and the Plateau lifted up and started exposing these rocks. They were perfect. They were pristine.”
Chapter Three: EARTH
Mines – Gold, Silver, Copper
The mines spurred the rapid growth and development of our state. Gold, silver, and copper brought thousands of speculators to Arizona. Under Arizona travels back in time to tell the tale of the mines' raucous rise, inevitable fall, and recent rebirth.
“ Without mining, Arizona would not be the great state that it is today. It is still a fundamental part of the economy of this state and it's really a fundamental part of our way of life in this state,” said Mary Poulton, Head of the Mining and Geologic Engineering Deptartment, University of Arizona.
Buried Cultures – Ancestral sites, Pots, and Artifacts
Under Arizona offers viewers a unique opportunity to visit rare places – where civilizations that were once under the surface are now exposed.
About Eight, Arizona PBS
Eight, Arizona PBS specializes in the education of children, in-depth news and public affairs, lifelong learning, and the celebration of arts and culture -- utilizing the power of noncommercial television, the Internet, educational outreach services, and community-based initiatives. The PBS station began broadcasting from the campus of Arizona State University on January 30, 1961. Now more than 80 percent of Arizonans receive the signal through a network of translators, cable and satellite systems. With more than 1 million viewers each week, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. Arizonans provide more than 60 percent of the station's annual budget.
Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University.