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Geologic clock.jpg
The series equates Geological time to a clock face to aid understanding of the vast timescales involved
Genre Documentary
Presented by Tony Robinson
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 5
Original channel Channel 4
Original run 24 November 2008 (2008-11-24)
22 December 2008 (2008-12-22)
External links
Official website

Catastrophe is a five-part British documentary television series telling the story of the catastrophic events that shaped planet Earth. It is presented by Tony Robinson and was first aired on Channel 4 on 24 November 2008.[1] The series producer was Stephen Marsh with researcher Dr Rhodri Jones.


# Title Original airdate
1 "Birth of the Planet" 24 November 2008 (2008-11-24) [3]

The first episode explores the most violent event in the history of the Earth when, four and half billion years ago, it collided with another planet, Thea, helping create the unique circumstances for life on Earth. It includes contributions from Bill K. Hartmann who first convinced the scientific mainstream that the Giant impact created both the moon and the Earth's 23° tilt.[2]

The programme also covers the last continuing Lunar Surface experiment from the Apollo program. NASA engineer Jerry Wiant's Lunar Laser Ranging measures the inceasing distance between the moon and the McDonald Observatory on Earth.[2] 
2 "Snowball Earth" 1 December 2008 (2008-12-01) [4]
An exploration of the evidence behind the controversial theory of Snowball Earth. Tony Robinson opens the episode with "... temperatures plummeted, ice spread down from the poles. It encased the planet in a layer thousands of metres thick. A snowball earth." Tony speaks of proof that "meant only one thing" and one of the experts who speaks on the program (around 18 minutes) says "proven that glaciers were on the equator" and "if you have ice at the equator then the whole of the globe must have been covered by ice, a wholly white planet". 
3 "Planet of Fire" 8 December 2008 (2008-12-08) [5]
An exploration of the Permian extinction, the largest ever when, 250 million years ago, 95% of life was destroyed. The evidence points to an eruption of the Siberian Traps in Eastern Russia. 
4 "Asteroid Strike" 15 December 2008 (2008-12-15) [6]
This programme follows the trail of clues leading to the extinction of dinosaurs, 65 million years ago. Iridium and shocked quartz found at the K–T boundary are investigated which leads to the belief that an asteroid strike on the Yucatan Peninsula was responsible for the exinction. 
5 "Survival Earth" 22 December 2008 (2008-12-22) [8]

This episode considers the events over the last 75,000 years that wiped out many of our ancestors. Super-volcanos ice ages and cosmic impacts have all had a malign affect on the development of the human race and the evidence is that such events will continue to be a threat in the future.

The programme includes contributions from Stephen Oppenheimer.[7] 


External links



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