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Geodynamics

5 additional geodynamic movies to watch

5 additional geodynamic movies to watch

More than a year ago Iris made a great list of geodynamics themed (bad) movies. Since there are so many amazingly bad (and a few good) geodynamics themed movies out there, we felt that it was time for some additional movie recommendations. I tried to keep the list varied with some over-the-top movies and some which are very down to earth, or in some cases more correctly phrased: down into the earth. And, yes,  sorry for the bad puns. That happens when you watch to many of these movies…

1. 2012

2012 poster

From wikipedia, copyright of Columbia Pictures.

Are you tired of the tectonic plates moving only a few centimetres a year? Look no further! In the movie 2012 the tectonic plates easily move a few thousand kilometre in less than a day! The action and scale of the disasters is so over-the-top in this movie, that it becomes a real delight to watch. If that is not enough reason to watch this movie, please know that the whole premise of this movie is that the neutrinos, you know, those particles which do not really like interact with anything, have mutated (yes, mutated particles!) and are heating up the planet. If you want to see a movie where the geodynamic forces are destroying the whole world, this is definitely the movie for you. This movie might also be nice as an attachment to you next grand proposal to show why your work is important. Just saying.

Is this my top recommendion just an attempt to show you this clip below? Maybe, we will never know…

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2. San Andreas

San Andreas poster

From wikipedia.

If you haven’t had enough of giant earthquakes ripping up cities after seeing 2012, you are in luck. San Andreas will show you that level of destruction, but more of a local home grown California kind. Compared to 2012, you are not going to see a tsunami which floods the Himalayas, but you will see a tsunami destroying the Golden Gate bridge though. The movie starts with an earthquake along some previously unknown faults breaking the Hoover dam. That turns out to be only the beginning and two large earthquakes rupture the San Andreas fault. Compared to 2012, this movie is slightly less about running just one second ahead of an expanding hole in the ground, and focusses on only one family trying to save themselfs, instead of ten.

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3. Katla

katla poster

From Rotten tomatoes, copyright RVK Studios/Neflix

If you like a more serious, and at the same time more fictional movie, Katla might be for you. Katla is a eight part series about a slowly erupting volcano on Iceland. And that is not the only thing which is slow in this movie, because the whole story itself progresses really slowly. This is a large, but nice, contrast with the previous two movies, where action takes the centre stage. With the previous two movies I didn’t really explain the plot line, because it is sort of the default plot line of these kind of disaster movies: running from lava/flooding/big cracks in the earth and saving family and loved ones without caring too much about anything else. Katla actually has a good and interesting story. Besides that, many rock and ash samples are collected, thin sections are made and properly looked at. Furthermore, people are abseiling from a glacier into the active volcano. That should be enough to spark some interest in any Earth scientist! And for the planetary scientist among us (spoiler!), meteorites play an important part in the plot as well.

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4. Mine 9

Mine 9 poster

From IMDB.

Going down ever further in scale, we arrive at Mine 9. Mine 9 is a is again a disaster movie. It is about an old, ill maintained coal mine. Although mining might not be something most (computational) geodynamicst think a lot about, it is one of the few actual windows we have into the ground. From the beginning it is clear something is going to go horribly wrong in that mine. The interesting thing is that the miners themselves are very much aware of the danger, but the movie shows really well the rational decision they make  from their perspective to still go into that mine. It feels like a very plausible depiction of what today’s coal miners like would be like and is certainly worth a watch.

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5. Volcano

Volcano poster

From Wikipedia, Copyright © 1997 by 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved..

To lighten up the mood a bit, number five is Volcano. Volcano is very much like the San Andreas movie, but even less realistic. The whole premise of the movie is that there is a huge volcano under Los Angeles. This volcano erups and our hero has to save the city from certain doom. If you ignore the fact that the whole premise is wrong and that the the director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management doesn’t even know what lava or magma is, it is actually an enjoyable movie to watch. Just keep your eyes on the actions and do not think too much!

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Bonus: Demolition man

Demolition man poster

From Wikipedia.

Since the previous top 5 geodynamics movie list cheated by adding a 6th movie to a top 5, I feel no shame in doing the same here. You may wonder what the movie Demolition man has to do with geodynamics. The answer to that is the backstory. According to the movie there was a massive earthquake in 2010. This is somehow very important in the movies backstory, but unfortunately the backstory is not really important to the movie. This movie will leave you with many more questions than answers. The most burning questions of them all, how are the three sea shells in the restroom used?

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Menno is a postdoctoral fellow at UC Davis in the USA. He investigates the interplay between the crust and the mantle through numerical modelling, with a focus on the study of subduction zones. He is a primary developer and maintainer of both the geodynamics code ASPECT and the initial conditions generator code the Geodynamic World Builder. Menno is part of the GD blog team as an editor.


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