S31E08 Volcano Above the Clouds


Explore Kilimanjaro – the breathtaking island in the sky. At 20,000 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and also the world’s tallest volcano. Rising through a shroud of mist and clouds, Kilimanjaro floats like a mirage above the African savannah. A trek up its steep flanks takes climbers through five different worlds of climate and vegetation, ranging from rainforest near the bottom to arctic ramparts of ice surrounding a rocky crater at the peak. Kilimanjaro is not only a nature lover’s paradise, but also a tantalising mystery for many scientists. The glacier atop the mountain has shrunk by over a third in the last decade due to global warming, and could disappear altogether by 2015. And although classified as dormant, Kilimanjaro has begun to stir, and evidence suggests that a massive landslide could rip open the side of the mountain causing a cataclysmic flow of hot gases and rock, similar to Mount St. Helens. NOVA takes an unusual expedition to the top of My. Kilimanjaro to investigate these two scientific mysteries, and to explore the unique beauty of this “island in the sky”. Joining NOVA on this breathtaking adventure is African-born naturalist Robin Buxton, who was disabled by polio at age two, and who now dreams of summiting a mountain he has long studied.