If Mother Nature has a double-edged sword in her arsenal, it undoubtedly is the volcano.
At one turn, these lava-spewing maws are incomprehensibly destructive, capable of explosively tearing chunks out of the earth and coating entire continents in blankets of ash.
But even as volcanoes can take away from the planet, they give back in equal measure by building new landmasses and infusing nearby soil with an abundance of life-giving nutrients.
Premiering June 27 at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX 3D Theater, Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation explores the history of volcanoes, a story stretching back to the origins of the Earth itself.
In this stunning new IMAX release, the giant screen experts at SK Films (The Wild Around You 3D, Amazon Adventure 3D) have captured astounding footage that places viewers incredibly close to — and occasionally inside of — volcanoes all around the world, from the plains of Africa and the historic slopes of Pompeii to the depths of the ocean.
Along the way, viewers will see never-before-seen imagery of these colossal gateways to the underworld, including footage of the prolonged eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano in 2018. These scenes become even more immersive on the theater’s six-story screen thanks to an advanced IMAX with Laser projection system and 12-channel audio system that recreates the rumble of each eruption with chest-rattling realism. The only thing missing — thankfully — is the sensation of blistering heat emanating from the screen.
Audiences will be guided on this explosive expedition by National Geographic photographer, filmmaker and adventurer Carsten Peter. A two-time World Press Photo prize winner, the German explorer is no stranger to danger, but working on Volcanoes required some especially perilous daredevilry. His involvement with the film included visits to acid ponds in Ethiopia, dizzily rappelling into craters above fiery lakes of lava in the South Pacific and dodging volcanic “bombs” — masses of molten rock ejected during eruptions.
“Usually, you try to avoid, of course, to be hit,” Peter quips during a post-film Q&A at the California Science Center in Los Angeles earlier this year. “If you see a volcanic bomb approaching you, you try to kind of calculate the trajectory and just step away so the bomb is impacting next to you. That’s the trick.”
On June 27, the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater will host a special launch party for Volcanoes: Fires of Creation featuring a special guest appearance by the film’s director and co-executive producer, Michael Dalton-Smith. Smith has 17 years of experience filming in some of the world’s most remote and challenging locations. He has directed and shot numerous TV series, including Volcanic Odysseys and Nomads of the Serengeti.
This film, he says, shows both sides of volcanoes, as one of the planet’s most-deadly and most-creative forces.
“We often think of volcanoes as being destructive, but they also build and play a beneficial role on the planet,” Dalton-Smith says, in an interview with the California Science Center. “To witness one in action is both beautiful and awe-inspiring. Most importantly, I hope that the audience will come away with a better understanding of the forces that shaped the world we know today.”
Dalton-Smith will be on hand before the film’s 7 p.m. screening to meet with guests. Additional pre-screening activities include photo opportunities with a film standee and an opportunity to wear a heat suit. Following the film, the director will take questions from the audience.
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to hold a volcano in your hands? Students from Dade County High School also will be in the theater before the screening to display models they’ve 3D-printed of famous volcanoes from around the world, including Mt. Vesuvius, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Fuji and Mauna Kea.
Register for the premiere event at https://www.tnaqua.org/events-programs
Beginning June 28, Volcanoes: Fires of Creation will be screened daily at 2 and 4 p.m. For more information about the film or to order tickets, visit https://www.tnaqua.org/imax/volcanoes-3d-fires-of-creation.
Volcanoes Featured in the film:
- Ambrym Volcano, Vanuatu
Type: Shield volcano
Height: 4,377 ft
Fact: Ambrym is home to the Marum and Benbow craters, which contain rare lava lakes.
- Mt. Fuji, Tokyo, Japan
Height: 12,388 ft
Fact: Mount Fuji is made of three volcanoes – Fuji is on the top, with two others hidden beneath.
- Kilauea, Hawaii, USA
Type: Shield volcano
Height: 4,091 ft
Fact: Kilauea is the youngest of Hawaii’s five volcanoes and started as a submarine volcano. As it erupted underwater, the lava built it higher and higher until it pierced the surface of the sea.
- Dukono, Indonesia
Type: Complex/compound volcano
Height: 4,380 ft
Fact: Dukono has been erupting continuously since 1933!
- Sinabung, Indonesia
Height: 8,070 ft
Fact: Sinabung is only 40 kilometers from the Lake Toba super-volcano, which 70,000 years ago was the site of Earth’s largest eruption during the last million years.
- Vesuvius, Italy
Height: 4,203 ft
Fact: Almost 2,000 years ago, an eruption at Vesuvius buried the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in a thick layer of ash. Four hundred years ago, these settlements were rediscovered with many artifacts — even paintings — still intact!
- Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania
Height: 9,711 ft
Fact: Ol Doinyo Lengai produces a very rare (perhaps unique) type of lava called natrocabonatite lava. This unusual molten material flows easily and erupts at quite cool temperatures. This means that the molten lava is black rather than red!
- Nyiragongo, Congo
Height: 11,380 ft
Fact: Together, Nyiragongo and the nearby volcano Nyamuragira are responsible for 40 percent of the volcanic eruptions in Africa’s history!