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AGE: Child, Teen, Adult Time: 60 Mins. DVDs: 12
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Our planet generates an incredible amount of extraordinary phenomenon. A lot of these wonders can be reasonably explained but others baffle even the most experienced scientists.
Impossible Planet takes viewers on a journey around the globe to discover just how strange and unaccounted for our world can be. From luminescent, electric-blue waves crashing ashore to mysterious fairy circles as far as the eye can see, the series explores some of Earth’s most incredible natural phenomena.
Episode 1:
 Epic Earth
Lake Hillier:
Tiny Middle Island off the Southern coast of Western Australia is home to the striking bubblegum-pink Lake Hillier. Impossible Planet talks to Doc Reynolds, an Aboriginal Elder of the area to hear the Dreamtime story of how the lake got its glorious color, while Ken McGrath from the Extreme Microbiome project tells us about the incredible science he used to help answer the question that has baffled scientists for generations.

Glacier Lagoon/Diamond Beach:
We also explore the extraordinary contrasts of Diamond Beach in the shadow of Iceland’s Vatnajökull glacier. The beach’s stunning black sand is dotted with glistening pieces of glacial ice. They look like sparkling gemstones, but how did they get there? The nearby Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon may hold the answer. 

Stone Forest:
Standing proud across the landscape, is an army of mysterious rock towers. The Shilin Stone Forest is located in Southern China, where over hundreds of thousands of years, they gradually transformed into these astonishing thick layer of limestone rock. With the help of tectonic plates and weathering, this incredible landscape has become a sight to see.

Episode 2:
 Age Old Origins
Moeraki Boulders
This string of beautifully-rounded boulders at the water’s edge has been stopping people in their tracks for years. Geologists explain the phenomena as bits of mud naturally concreting together about 60 million years ago. The ocean movement has now exposed around 50 lying along the beach on a south east beach in New Zealand.

Rainbow Mountains:
The Rainbow Mountains are one of the most scenic geologic features of this world. The mountains are covered with colors of turquoise, lavender, magenta and soft gold and most prominently seen in China and Peru. 

Jewel and Ngilgi Caves:
Located only 20 minutes south of Margaret River, a crystal wonderland awaits. Formed approximately 1 million years ago, a number of complex and fragile karst cave systems await eager explorers. Below the incredible coastal and forest region, massive labyrinths and enormous chambers are filled with intricate limestone crystal formations.

Episode  3:
 Rare Sights & Lights
Bioluminescent Waves
Arguably one of the most stunning and rare spectacles the glowing alga known as sea sparkle appears like hundreds of eclectic lights under the water. There are many variations of the bioluminescence organisms throughout the world, with some of the most spectacular occurring in Tasmania and the Maldives.

Karijini National Park:
Among the dry outback of Australia is a unique slice into out planet’s past. Karijini’s gorges are some of the oldest in existence, with rocks dated over 2,500 million years old. Slowly carved out through the process of erosion, these massive mountains and escarpments rise out of scenic flat valleys. 

Like a witch’s cauldron in Hell’s Kitchen, grey mud boils perpetually, releasing the stench of rotten eggs with every popping bubble. These bubbling potholes are surrounded by sulphur-rich shades of yellow, orange and red, giving the landscape a truly other-worldly atmosphere. This volcanic region of Iceland hosts many extreme features.

Episode 4:
 Unearthing Mysteries
Giant’s Causeway:
Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO world heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway is a well-known attraction. The spectacular 60-million-year-old geological formation has long been steeped in myth, its perfectly hexagonal columns being attributed to the Irish giant, Finn McCool. Yan Lavallée, Professor of Volcanology at the University of Liverpool shares fascinating new discoveries about this ancient Irish monument. 

La Brea Tar Pits:
The contradiction of a busy modern metropolis and some of science’s most ancient archaeological evidence seems impossible! The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the world’s most significant fossil locations and they’re located right on Wilshire Blvd in the heart of Los Angeles. The incredible mammoths, sabre tooth tigers, sloths and other animals that once roamed the area from the last glacial period became trapped in the tar. Dr. Emily Lindsey, Assistant Curator & Excavation Site Director shares with us some of the secrets of the pits.

Situated in the west of Iceland, Thingvellir is known as an incredible site to see the crack between the two tectonic plates. As the tectonic plates pull apart beneath the ocean floor, above ground is a remarkable landscape that appears to stretch, creating a depression of rift valleys. The crystal clear water filtering through the cracks is some of the most pristine on earth and one of the only places possible to swim and stand between to plates.


Episode 5:
 Mass Movements
Fascinating and ferocious are just two of the many words that can be used to describe the impossible seeming phenomena that are geysers. These life-sustaining, mystical geological structures exist only in a few places on the planet. We travel to Yellowstone National Park and the geothermal field in Iceland to take a closer look at these bubbling wells and uncover what causes them to shoot jets of boiling water high in to the sky.

Pancake Rocks
On the wild west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, a limestone landscape of formations bewilders passersby. A stack of pancake-shaped rock formations forms the coast line of Punakaki. Coupled with the intense blow holes and surge pools, this truly is one of mother’s natures more incredible geological feats! 

Christmas Island Crabs:
Each year at the beginning of the wet season, the beaches and jungle of Christmas Island off the coast of Australia come alive in a scarlet, undulating wave of mass migration. This episode of Impossible Planet explores the astonishing sight of approximately 50 million Christmas Island land crabs making their perfectly-timed journey from the forest to the shore to breed. 

Episode 6:
 Time & Tides
Lake Baikal (Russia)
Lake Baikal is famous for being the largest, oldest and deepest freshwater lake on the planet. Having some of the clearest water in the world, it is the home to exclusive flora and fauna and produces some of the most incredible naturally formed ice. Curving for nearly 400 miles through south-eastern Siberia, Lake Baikal lies in a cleft where Asia is splitting apart, making it an incredible unique and important part of the world. 

Sea Foam – aka Cappuccino Coast
One dramatic coastline event was all that was needed to dub this phenomena ‘Cappuccino Coast’. The frothy ocean mixture could have come straight from your morning coffee... only on mass scale production! Seemingly out of nowhere shorelines are transformed into a foamy coffee. This event can occur all over the world, with the right set of milky conditions. We uncover just how this phenomena is created. 

Sudwala Caves
At around 2800 million years old, there isn’t much else out there that’s older...Located near the South African city of Nelspruit, these caves are regarded as the oldest known caves in the world. To get there requires a deep walk into the Drakensberg escarpment. 

Episode 7:
 The Weird & Wonderful
Giant Spider Crabs:
It’s an annual event, one that is surrounded by mystery. It is an incredible scene with a cast of thousands, but it’s not a film. It’s an epic migration, yet a modest drive from a major city. This episode explores the extraordinary Giant Spider Crab migrations. Not far from the city of Melbourne, the destination of this intrepid march is at the base of Port Phillip Bay. 

Sólheimajökull Glacier/Ice Cave:
In the land of fire and ice, we explore caves formed within the the Sólheimajökull Glacier of Iceland. Part of the larger Myrdalsjokull Glacier, both these mammoth ice formations are threatened with destruction. Formed on the edge of a volcano, the surrounding landscape is spectacularly striped with volcanic ash. These remarkable caves are a window into the effects of climate change. 

Cappadocia, Turkey:
Rising out of the sun-kissed ground, punctuating the Turkish landscape, Cappadocia is home to nature’s very own enchanted castles. As if out of a fairy-tale, the story behind these unusual rock formations is one of majesty and mystery. They are steeped in history and are impossibly beautiful.

Episode 8:
 Forces of Nature
An ocean that exists deep within a desert? Rock formations that are alive, growing and changing? Just north of Perth, is Nambung National Park. This park is home to some of the state’s most curious formations, and a fascinating desert, located just minutes from the ocean. 
Lofthellir Cave
Iceland is the land of impossibilities, of stunning natural beauty and almost unexplainable contradiction. No more so is this apparent than at Ice Cave Lofhellir, in the country's north. Estimated to be 3500 years old, this permafrost ice cave started out life very differently; as searing hot lava. The once boiling lava is long gone, having been replaced with some of the most magnificent natural ice sculptures in the land. 

Cascading down a high Cliffside, overlooking the Turkish plains, are the calcite laden waters of Pamukkale. This unreal landscape, also known as the Cotton Castle, is made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and terraced basins. 

Episode 9:
 Elemental Wonders
We all know the famous northern and southern lights are brighter the closer you get to the poles, but did you know that they actually make a sound? There is a lot we are still learning about the incredible painted sky and new variations are discovered all the time. The ‘Tassie Stripes’ get their name from their resemblance to Tassie Devils, and can be uniquely found streaking across the sky over Tasmania.  It’s a phenomena that’s occurred since Earth’s existence, yet still continues to surprise and awe.

Once considered the doorway to the gods, Cenotes have been the source for secrets and wonderment for centuries. In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, a series of sink holes offer a window to a spectacular underwater cave system, filled with remarkable formations, fossils and secrets to Earths past. The very recent discovery that this is in fact the largest underwater cave system in the world, was only eclipsed by the incredible fossils and Mayan remains also uncovered. 

Natural Flames
Deep within the New Zealand forest, the Natural Flames flicker, seemingly of their own creation. Surrounded by ferns and beech trees, they are the only known eternal flames within a forest... and have not burnt it down. Since 1922, when the flames were first discovered, they have burned consistently, never moving or wavering. 

Episode 10:
 Marvels Of Magnitude
Iceland’s Basalt Columns:
Ireland is not the only place on our planet where you can find the seemingly impossible basalt columns that rise in perfect hexagons from the earth. The incredible geological formations like those of the Giant’s Causeway can also be found at Reynisfjara, or Black Beach, in Iceland. These columns also appear to defy gravity as they hang from the top of the stunning Svartifoss Waterfall. At the lesser known, but arguably most captivating, Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall in the country’s North, these columns twist and bend to form a surreal landscape where cliff faces seem to grow from the ground. 

Glow worms:
If you venture into the dark, cool Metro/Te Ananui cave system in New Zealand, not only will you find incredible geological sculptures, but millions of blue luminescent worms shining their lights from the roof and walls. The light travels along the thin silken threads they weave and suspend from their tails to catch their prey.

Wave Rock:
You could be forgiven for trying out your longboard on this one; a stunning rock formation that gets its name from one very obvious feature. While you can’t quite hang ten on this inland swell, you can marvel at its uncanny resemblance to a wave, and wonder just how it got its shape. 

Episode 11: Extraordinary Evolution

Cradle of Human Kind
At the beginning of all human life on earth, this unique world heritage site is an area of unparalleled universal value. It is the world’s largest early hominin site – home to approximately 40% of the world’s known human ancestor fossils. The site is an incredible array of human ancestry and continues to surprise! 

Caño Cristales
Often referred to as ‘the most beautiful river in the world’ the Columbian river has only recently been accessible to the world. Also known as the “River of Five Colours” or the “Liquid Rainbow”, the Cano Cristales is an unrivaled location. For most of the year the river is indistinguishable from any other, but for a brief period of time, the river blossoms with a unique species of plant, Macerenia Clavigera, the flowers of which contribute the intense red color, transforming the waterway into a living rainbow. 

Devils Marbles – Karlu Karlu
In the heart of Australia’s red outback, an impressive collection of massive granite boulders are strewn across the landscape. A sacred site to the traditional landowners, the Devils Marbles are a legendary site, that seem to defy gravity. Perfectly poised as if balancing on top of one another, these rock formations are the work of millions of years of weathering and erosion, they have truly stood the test of time. 

Episode 12: Demystifying Nature

Fairy Circles:
Until 2014, Namibia’s mysterious network of barren circles dotting an otherwise fertile landscape were thought to be the only example of Fairy Circles on earth. In this episode of Impossible Planet, we take you to Namibia and to the only recently discovered site of these natural phenomenon, the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 

Antelope Canyon
The incredible Canyon lands in Arizona are a vast wilderness full of impossible splendor. Curious rock formations, cascading falls and sky-high sculptures await interested adventurers, including the famous slot canyon – Antelope Canyon. Only accessible through guided tours, this incredible sandstone phenomenon has been shaped by flash flooding, wind and other forces of nature. 

Fire Whirls:
Fire Whirls, also commonly known as a fire devil, or Fire Tornados, are whirl winds induced by shear wrapping flames up to spiraling heights  The small pockets of smoke can rise to an intense heat with turbulent wind conditions. Combined with ash, flames and debris this combative force of mother nature can even escalate into a towering tornado of fire; a spinning vortex sucking in everything in its path. 
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