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If you thought the Earth needed millions of years to change, it’s time to think again! A Day in the Life of Earth uses the latest science to reveal how much our planet can change in just one single day. The Earth makes a mountain of new rock every hour and is not only continually changing shape but is also losing weight. Every day, you wake up on a completely different planet.

We start with the inner Earth — the invisible but hugely dynamic system beneath our feet which continually rebuilds the planet’s surface. On the island of Stromboli, we climb a volcano with geologist Professor Chris Jackson to see how much lava a single volcano can produce on a daily basis and how it builds new land. In Iceland, we find out how the entire country is growing as the inner Earth forces the continents apart and creates new land between them. The moving of continents causes around 300,000 earthquakes each day.

Solid earth can even take off and fly across an ocean. When amateur divers Ramon and Veronica Llaneza found red dust in an underwater cave in the Bahamas, little did they know how far it had travelled to get there.  Scientist Charlie Bristow has tracked the source of the dust down to the Sahara and worked out how huge quantities of solid mud get airborne and carried across the Atlantic — half a million tonnes of it per day!  Much of it ends up in the Amazon where it helps fertilize the rainforest. Meanwhile, in the Polar Regions, mountains are also being moved — by glaciers, which grind down rock 24/7 and eventually deposit it in the ocean where it helps trigger another daily change – to life.

large tree over ParisRepresentation of the tree growth on earth in one day.

In the ocean, we follow the daily growth of phytoplankton — microscopic plant-life fueled by the nutrients put there by erosion. Five billion tonnes of it grow every day, where it triggers the biggest mass movement of animal life known to science — the daily migration of the zooplankton which rises from the depths every night to feed on the plants. In Florida, we get underwater with a group of intrepid divers who plunge into the pitch-black ocean for a chance to see this global phenomenon up close. We also look at how science is now able to track the growth of plants on land using satellites. If you could put all the growth in all the world’s forests into one imaginary tree, you would get a single three-kilometre-tall tree in just one day. 

MORE:
Scientists Measure How Dramatically Our Earth Changes In A Single Day
Surfers head to the Amazon to ride the Pororoca, one of the longest waves in the world
Every day on earth the world’s plants grow 300 million tonnes, the same as an oak tree 3.5 km high

Finally, we look outwards. The Earth is not a bubble — it’s part of a bigger cosmic system that every day alters the composition of our planet. We visit Natural Resources Canada where they monitor the effects of the sun on Earth. Not only does it cause the magnetic North Pole to move up to 60 kilometres in a day but it also causes the Earth to lose weight as atmospheric gases like Helium are energized by the solar wind and leak into space at the rate of 1 kilogram per second. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. But Earth does get something back. We join a group of amateur astronomers to watch the Geminid meteor shower in the deserts of California. This heavenly light display is revealing a process that goes on all day, every day. The Earth is continually picking up space dust — an estimated 60 tonnes of it every 24 hours. 

It is a different planet every day.

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