Mysteries of the Abandoned Worlds Strangest Disaster Zones Documentary HD 1080p


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disaster zones they litter our planet the first thing you see is devastation wreckage ruined buildings torn up highways an entrance gate collapsed a running track twisted and cracked and then it starts to dawn on you this place was a school site struck by unexpected forces others the victim of human ambition life can barely survive here so why on earth would anyone build a village here it looks like a post-apocalyptic landscape you have to wonder it was it bombed did anyone survive what happened here ten of the world's strangest disaster zones annihilated by Mother Nature fatal miscalculation or bizarre phenomena my goodness at times it was like turning day into night the whole environment has been changed there was an entire town there that's now gone each with a unique story to tell some still revealing their secrets is this still life is this finished or is there still yet more to come what's happening here is terrifying the destructive force is unleashed could be catastrophic [Music] at number 10 on the world's strangest disaster zones in Ethiopia a place that screams danger but where humankind chose to settle regardless this is one of the most otherworldly places on planet Earth it's an alien landscape where yellow green and red color these mystical geological formations these colors a psychedelic these are danger signs these are warning signs it feels unnatural this place is really a furnace there's no shade to be found for four miles there's no vegetation and you've got the Sun beating down you it really is a hotbed you would never imagine finding people here but yet there are signs of life rising up out of this strange blasted landscape you see the ruins of some kind of community you see some some houses broken-down trucks some pipes bits of infrastructure but everything kind of encrusted and growing right out of the material that makes up the ground itself today the village looks desolate and abandoned but at one particular time there was a group of people determined enough to make this their home it's nicknamed the land of the dead life can barely survive here so why on earth would anyone build a village here [Music] this arid location lies in the northernmost part of the afar region in Ethiopia where cuca bed a is a local guide who has explored this dangerous place extensively and the mathematical today our farm under the woods so this is a far we have a really brutal geology here so we come across a lot of skeletons it's one of the lowest and hottest places in the world it's around 400 feet below sea level the mercury here can skyrocket to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit but it isn't just the temperatures that make this location so hostile you walk around this area you can hear the sort of salty crust crumble under your feet in fact it's quite dangerous as you get close to some of these are stagnant pools they can be a pH of 1 or less they can be just like sulfuric acid and so there is a danger that if your foot falls through the crust you can actually burn your skin so it's it's quite as stark environment it's part of a Rift Valley system where two tectonic plates are essentially pulling apart and the earth is literally getting ripped open yet flanked by steaming fissures are the shattered remains of a settlement this is the town of the law so there's not much to see here but there are clues as to what happened in the past what brought these intrepid souls to this hell on earth lies beneath your feet this crazy landscape where biology tips into chemistry is clearly one man came here it's a chemical Wonderland and there was one element in two laws chemical Cauldron that the whole world wanted there's one particular mineral deposit known as potash which is a mishmash of various chemicals but it has a lot of potassium in it it's almost unique to have such concentrations of potash actually at the Earth's surface and without much processing you can literally scrape the potash off the Earth's surface potash this amazing thing that we use in fertilizers and other chemical reactions and it here it is on the surface of the earth in 1912 two Italian adventurers obtained the first potash mining concession and the industrial excavation of this precious resource began there was a big demand for the potash agriculture was increasing around the world there's a big demand for fertilizer so more workers began to flood into this community to be part of this operation once here they built houses however they could as your Karim is mahkumat your birth which people who came here to dig the mines lived in houses like this which they built from local salt rock in such a harsh and remote location everything including drinking water had to be brought across the parched land but the mining community in the law prospered is a gun with the medical - here you can see a generator that was used for water and the wires they used for electricity the blistering heat and unstable earth below couldn't stop money being made soon larger companies followed and in 1918 a 45 mile long railway line was built to transport the precious potash to the port of mercifui in modern-day Eritrea the railway really opened up production and it also opened up the town to other people and it's pink 50,000 tons were being mined this was a place of opportunity a place where fortunes could be made potash flowed out of the law but the working conditions were punishing there's acidic waters floating around you've got sort of noxious fumes and salty fluids getting into your hands the miners we were working in the hottest place on earth this had to have been a perilous environment at best still the potential of what could be found here what to be extracted outweighed the risks they developed a thriving little operation but it wasn't going to last the harsh climate and the risk of volcanic disaster threatened to shatter the law but in the end its decline was driven by changing economics following the first world war it became easier to get potash from different sources in Germany in the USA the minute the global market for potash changes slightly all of a sudden you're tipped from profits and non profit and when there's no profit people leave very very quickly since then various international operators have tried to exploit the rich resources that lie under the baking Theo pian son but Mother Nature was always against them it is no surprise that the word Dalal itself means disintegration anything this metal is rusting you've only got to go and see what's happened to a land rover or another truck there's only been there for for a few tens of years and it is literally in pieces the place is a horrible place to live Mother Nature didn't set up this environment to be friendly to humans and I think it took a few decades but humans eventually got the hint [Music] though the village lies desolate and abandoned now not all the mining has stopped in the area there's no longer any industrial mining of these resources but people from the local afar tribe will often come in often at night with camel caravans and carve out large slabs of salt load them on their camels and take them out to market when you look at ruins like this village it really does bring home how determined humans are to exploit the environment how determined we are to make money to create wealth wherever should be from one arid wasteland to another this barren desert in Uzbekistan is not quite what it seems at over 40 miles from the nearest shoreline this stranded ghost fleet feels a long way from home it's a very old thing seeing a boat in the desert a boat is an indicative sign of water but then you look around and there's none available but a clue on the town's sign suggests those vessels do in fact belong here so what extraordinary event created this bizarre scene in the 1960s the town of moynak sat on the edge of the Aral Sea the world's fourth largest body of inland water almost tava siob was one of the many employed in the booming local fishing industry more than 200 vessels were engaged in the fishing industry and over 100 vessels were transporting fish to the fish canning factory where 1,200 people worked and annually produced up to 12 million cans of fish but by 1990 all the fishing here had stopped somehow the sea had become a desert people understood that there was less water there was not even water for watering the gardens or for use on the farms incredibly the cause of this disaster was man-made the Aral Sea was fed by two rivers but under Soviet rule a flawed decision to prioritize cotton production in Uzbekistan and divert that water away from here had devastating consequences it was ecological suicide because once they took all the water out of those rivers there wasn't enough water to feed the air all see in this hot environment it's it's sunny most of the time there's a lot of evaporation without water continuing to flow into it the aral sea began to evaporate in just 30 years the sea level dropped by 55 feet and in places the shoreline receded by almost 100 miles today a third of the sea bed is now exposed displaying a layer of dust salt and the toxic residue of pesticides just waiting to be swept up by the next strong breeze still to come a tropical paradise built in a danger zone but finished off by something unexpected and an island struck by immense force yet the culprit was not who the Islanders feared coming up on the world's strangest disasters owns a towering Dam spookily empty a land of spewing mud that swallowed a town and a remote Arctic community bearing the brunt of a global threat in the Caribbean is a retreat that was built right in the firing line yet the destruction visible today doesn't fit with what you might expect to see the hills level out into coves and the beaches give way to forests there's a quiet rugged Beauty to this place large houses nestled in the hillside and the views must be amazing for the people who live there it feels like an exclusive private island resort but abandoned structures litter this place and Clues point to a trail of destruction when you look all around there's a gray material on the ground it seems to have silted up all of the buildings and covered the whole area in a grey sandy material the indiscriminate nature of the damage wrought on this site only adds to the mystery there's a variety of different types of buildings and and in them you can see things like government documents are lying around one is round with many rooms and beds inside another is full of office equipment another you realize is part of a shopping center there's bits of infrastructure Lane absolutely everywhere amongst all the decay you can see these buildings once had opulence whoever lived here used to live the high life it feels as though everyone left in a rush there's crockery on the tables videotapes were left on the floor important documents are left on desks what caused everyone to leave in such an incredible hurry just 10 miles long and less than seven miles wide this is the tiny island of Montserrat local guide Norman castle is one of the few remaining residents he remembers the islands capital Plymouth before disaster struck Kamath was really a special place it could have made a hustling and bustling town but he was always still a bit of a relaxed atmosphere here Plymouth now lies within a perilous exclusion zone getting into this area is not easy and gives you some sense of just how serious this disaster was and how it hasn't ended it's still ongoing wreckage of the Capitals infrastructure clutters this place a lot of the business people stayed at a Florentine hotel because of its location in Plymouth and so it was very popular with the business folk holidaymakers once generated 25% of this small nation's economy this was just a wonderful place the rich and famous gathered here people from different parts of the world for conferences parties weddings and no they are all gone the gray ash that cloaks this site is a telltale sign of what happened here this is the Sioux Freire Hills volcano it looms over Plymouth and the whole of southern Montserrat it had been dormant for more than 300 years the Islanders had almost forgotten about it it never occurred to them that it would stir at all let alone emit steam and ash in 1995 the Saffir Hills volcano burst into life well it started out with us hearing this sound like jet engines but we never knew that it was the initial cracking of the rocks and the steam venting which created that sound until there were a few bits of black ash dusting areas and it is after that that he was found out that he was actually well the start of volcanic activity in volcanic terms the 95 eruption was relatively tame because Earth's fiery molten magma had not yet reached the surface these are eruptions which occur when magma meets groundwater and flushes that to steam and it can break open and break open the rocks and make sort of big thunderclap noises it also spewed out so much ash that Plymouth was plunged into darkness my goodness at times it was like turning day into night you can put your hand in front of your face and you couldn't see your hand it was that that as the first layer of ash coated this ill-fated site scientists flew in from all over the world to figure out what the volcano would do next seismologist roderick stewart was one of them when I first came here I was basically full of questions trying to find out what was going on in things and and this is a type of volcano that can change very quickly from looking very calm to being very dangerous a month after that first eruption the activity increased and scientists felt that they could no longer guarantee the safety of the people in that part of the island plymouth lay in direct line of fire so residents were evacuated to the north of Montserrat out of the volcano's deadly range but many could not be persuaded to leave their homes behind everyday the residents had to make a difficult decision stay and watch your business collapse or leave and save your life the Islanders managed to live with the volcano and despite the exclusion zone returned to as much of a normal life as possible everyone understood the risks and chose to live with them while Plymouth had been covered in a layer of ash the volcano hadn't yet released any lava but scientists feared the worst was yet to come the lava that comes out of this volcano so viscous that it cannot form a lava flow so it just comes out and it stays at the top of the volcano and it builds what we call a lava dome the lava dome blocked the mouth of the volcano effectively a plug sitting on top of an unstoppable force the question was how long could it stay in place what covers this site now is not lava rock but a solid river of mud so what happened on the island of Montserrat is a disaster zone stretching for miles in the mid-1990s the volcano that overlooks the capital of Plymouth erupted without warning lying in the line of fire most residents had already been evacuated but some chose to play a deadly game of chance some people started to defy orders and go back to the strict exclusion zone with a dome of solidified lava blocking the volcano's cone pressurized magma had been building up deep within its core June 1997 the volcano finally unleashes its full fury we got to a point where it couldn't sustain itself it it collapsed with a major eruption June 25th 1997 when folks lost their lives those were so some of the longest days of my life Norman was acting airport manager at the time it was almost like a continuous set of pyroclastic flows points after post and then there was some larger and larger ones and the scientist sounded the siren for evacuating the airport did an avalanche of pulverized lava and ash and gas they travel very very fast and they basically just smash everything in their way so they are very very dangerous you saw the clear line of demarkation where that pyroclastic flow came down and struck these buildings but then the hospital and those are the building's high up on the slope were untouched say just amazing how different parts of Plymouth was just devastated in a way and then others were just left standing millions of tons of ash were deposited across this vast site filling all the valleys and river beds for the residents who had returned to their homes in these areas the results were deadly as he got later towards evening and a little later she walked all through those hills and came and she met us down below here and she said you know I'm the only one who need it there were some of the staff who had gone up there and never saw them again sorry over the next four months the volcano exploded 75 times burying Plymouth in layer upon layer of superheated ash at one point there was a pyroclastic flow which came and hit the Parliament building at the back and started a fire which lit most of these buildings if you look below here you can see some of the charred remains at that stage when they saw Plymouth burning that was when folks knew that is it we are not going back to the primer that we knew when the pyroclastic flows had stopped Monserrat sweat tropical climate delivered another blow investigating this strange site reveals many structures aren't buried in ash but mud set hard as concrete when it rains it forms for mud flows which pick up all this material and that they've got immense power and they can bring boulders down and they can bring trees down so Plymouth it now is almost totally buried over the years the lower sections were filled and then it goes higher and higher eventually it covers completely some of these buildings the city was now permanently evacuated and left as a ghost town [Music] the sufrir heels volcano slumbers for now and away from this devastated disaster zone the north of Montserrat is beginning to thrive out of the volcanoes deadly reach the population is growing is about 5,000 now tourism has picked up these are tough folks and they're determined to survive and thrive even if they have to have a monster for a neighbour disaster zones leave wreckage and ruin but one off the coast of mainland China provides a unique set of clues to understanding mother nature's secrets in central Taiwan in the town of Gigi sits a structure covered with intricate sculptures you come across these highly decorative doors these ornate statues and that these dragons looking over to this temple it's wonderful holy building it looks incredible doesn't it but as you look further down you realize it's collapsed it's all over the place it's been completely destroyed as rubble-strewn everyone this is wu chang temple it's almost intact roof sits lazily on the rubble below when you look inside you see smash concrete and leaning pillars almost like it's been in pulverized from the inside yet for some reason this ruin has been preserved it has become a memorial pilgrims visit and legends swirl around the temple what forces were at play here were they purely natural or did something more sinister take its toll wu chang temple is not as ancient as it appears built in 1923 this isn't the only structure on the island that displays terrible damage 15 miles away in taichung city an even younger building lies in ruins you see a three-story building with floors collapsed in won't look like rooms of varying sizes it actually looks like quite a functional building but as you really peer into it you begin to see what looked like chairs and even blackboards an entrance gate collapsed a running track twisted and cracked and then it starts to dawn on you this place was a school you only hope the children weren't inside when this destruction took place this is Guangxu junior high school many in Taiwan remember the day that brought such devastation to the school and temple for long way June September 21st 1999 was a day that changed his life forever now or Java I got back home around 11:00 I went for a shower and prepared to go to sleep I'll slay those hole around 1 a.m. I suddenly felt a severe headache then I felt like I was eating rocks I was buried alive I thought was this the Communists song historically Taiwan has had a complex and tense relationship with mainland China so at first many people thought that China's Communist Party had launched a military strike against the island what force decimated these buildings were the Communists of mainland China really to blame off the coast of Southeast China on the island of Taiwan a catastrophic force shattered thousands of buildings one September night in 1999 when law way June woke up buried in his ruined house he liked his neighbors initially believed Taiwan had been the victim of a strike by Communist China however as he clawed his way out of the rubble a different picture began to emerge I climbed out of the ruins and so everyone was crying her and though then because they were aftershocks all of the houses kept shaking Taiwan had been struck not by a communist military strike but by a major earthquake roads buckled bridges collapsed and landslides diverted rivers causing the formation of completely new lakes liquefaction occurred soil became almost fluid leading to mud flows landslides and avalanches in and amongst these rolling hills that always look like they've been crumpled up like a carpet you can see these buildings that seem like they've been sucked down into the earth as many as 300,000 people were made homeless two-and-a-half thousand people were killed the second deadliest earthquake in recorded Taiwanese history it exposed nationwide shortcomings in the building and construction industry Taiwan's construction industry really took off in the 1990s there was a massive boom in building what we're looking at here is what happens when design codes and factors of safety they're pared down to the minimum lessons had to be learned actually the 91 earthquake is a collective pain shared in Taiwan even if we try to forget it it's a lesson a lesson in history we hope our government will enforce education and raise awareness about natural disasters how to take preventative measures and the data so incredibly Taiwan has between 20 and 30 thousand earthquakes annually only 20 to 30 of these are strong enough for people to actually feel but it really highlights the need to prepare for future generations so they don't suffer in these events and the nine to one earthquake as it became known offered a great opportunity to do exactly that in 1996 a vast network of detectors had been installed across the country which collected huge amounts of data Doctore detention it was the first earthquake in history to be recorded in such precise detail before the earthquake was crucial in informing the country about earthquakes and preventative measures what about a huge change Chloe Wong works as a guide at this battered school now preserved as a memorial say don't you know she the classroom was built right on the fault lines and this road was built along the fault line as you can see the impact these buildings suffered was absolutely huge but the school offers something else something totally unique this is one of the fault lines in Queen long's he strikes past the playground at the school you can see here it used to be a running track but the track here has been lifted as the two plates along this boundary pulled apart and lifted up the school was torn in half this was the first time an earthquake fault line could be seen and analyzed in such detail furthermore the material of the track protects the exposed fault line from weathering and erosion this was a huge moment in the research of seismology and the development of earthquake proof engineering and construction so after this massive disaster came great civil engineering challenge how do we keep people safe in the future it was the dawn of a new era although the unstoppable forces of nature had taken a devastating toll Taiwan would choose to tackle them head on in 1999 Taiwan was struck by a deadly earthquake wreckage and destruction were accompanied by a new era in research and civil engineering the PS the resistance was this Taipei 101 opened in 2004 and it was a real statement to the world but to an extent it was also thumbing its nose at Mother Nature saying we can take whatever you got to throw at us and they even built some of the stories in the pagoda style we're talking about what was the highest skyscraper in the world at the time it still represents a marvel of cutting-edge design it has Isolators dampers and a shock absorber that sits between the 88 and 90 second floor so when the building sways these dampers absorb all of that earthquake energy and reduce vibration in GG the wu chang temple sits shattered yet preserved in common with taipei 101 its design was inspired by the ancient wooden pagoda like structures found across the region yet as with many of taiwan's buildings they hadn't accounted for the full potential of Earth's tectonic forces when the 91 earthquake struck its modern concrete and steel construction collapsed into the dust [Music] today many still bear the scars of that infamous day avoiding us I haven't slept well for 20 years the aftershocks remain they remain in our hearts and like all Taiwanese people he's ready for the next warning when the government censors pick up an earthquake a message is instantly sent to everyone's phone in the system it tells them where the epicenter is and it tells them the magnitude of the quake so they've got time to prepare so it's a very sophisticated government warning system and it's a culture that is preparing itself for the worst in the mountains of northern Italy just 60 miles from Venice is a confounding sight towering above the town of longer own a one of the world's tallest dams appears to be holding back nothing but empty space what freak occurence explains this peculiar situation in the aftermath of world war two Italy turned to hydroelectricity to re-energize it's shattered industries hydroelectric power is incredibly attractive in a mountainous region because if you can have a tight Valley and you can trap water high up you've suddenly got the ability for that water to move downhill very quickly and generate free electricity engineers constructed the Biot dam and in 1960 the three mile-long reservoir behind it was filled with water throughout the construction of the vion dam there were repeated warnings both from locals and expert geologists that the mountain behind the dam was extremely unstable when you're filling the dam up with waters a lot of weight a lot of pressure that's been exerted on the sides of the valley on October 9th 1963 the prophets of doom were vindicated over nine billion cubic feet of rock broke away from the mountainside and hurtled into the reservoir below it wasn't just the mass of earth that slid away into the reservoir it was the ferocious speed at which it came 45 seconds for effectively half of the mounds inside to drop into the water the landslide pushed a tsunami of water over the dam and down the gorge towards longer Oni forced down such a tight Gorge it displaced all of that air and it was almost like a shock wave of air hit the village directly before the water didn't started destroying some of the buildings next minute a wall of water hits you it's got rocks in it it's got trees in it it is like liquid sandpaper and it just wipes the village clean the town was obliterated and nearly 2,000 people killed the tragic irony of this story is that whilst the villages below the dam were completely destroyed by the onrush of water but down itself remained completely intact [Music] today the vaya dam remains a testament to the dangers of under estimating the forces of nature from an engineering perspective the volume dam should have become one of the most impressive dams in history instead it's become one of the most infamous [Music] still to come an eerie town in Argentina covered in a mysterious white powder an American ghost town where the ground heaves and bubbles and a notorious Japanese site that formed part of a disastrous chain of events on the world's strangest disaster zones a Pennsylvanian community that vanished a group of indonesian settlements suffocated by mud and in arctic town feeling the heat of an invisible threat while some disaster zones are cleaned up quickly others leave a terrifying legacy in Japan is a confusing picture of deserted buildings and security Corden's it's apparent that once upon a time this was a bustling thriving landscape full of homes buildings factories but now it's just torn apart destroyed there's no question this entire landscape was subjected to an overwhelming force the whole area looks like some kind of a giant child just tossed it and helter-skelter but just a few miles away an altogether different scene seems to be playing out there's something not quite right about this town it feels like a zombie movie or like a ghost town it's on lockdown you can't get anywhere near it the security fences you are not allowed in this zone it's a no-go area [Music] what's happened in this area is so confusing because on the one hand there's absolute devastation and destruction and on the other hand things seem perfectly normal and fine yet no one is there the big question for me is how are those two things linked in the town of Tomioka the local high school now sits vacant and locked up little seems to have changed since it was last filled with students this is the main school building there were three classes per grade in total nine classes were studying here students would play soccer and then baseball around the barbecue they were training hard toshko alkie is a former principal of this school having left a few years before disaster struck she still recalls the promise of this place on the sports field Oh God of gold badminton soccer these were the three sports the school was focusing on with the aim of producing athletes that would be successful internationally the school program was therefore designed around this goal [Music] but in 2011 those ambitious plans for the future were suddenly put on hold and the buildings have remained empty ever since hanging on the wall is a stark reminder of the exact moment tragedy struck this place look at this clock on the school building it stopped at 246 the time on the clock hasn't changed since March 11th 2011 on that day at 2:46 p.m. a magnitude 9 earthquake struck the east coast of Japan this was one of the most intense earthquakes ever recorded it lasted for three minutes usually earthquakes just lasts for a few seconds the earthquake was so powerful that it supposedly moved the entire country of Japan east by 8 feet I could even fathom that but while the earthquake caused an evacuation here it wasn't the reason no one was allowed back well here's what's amazing about the earthquake itself is it didn't do as much damage as you'd expect Japan leads the world in earthquake preparedness and they really plan and build accordingly so when this earthquake hit it didn't knock down lots of buildings the way it might have in other parts of the world the epicenter of the earthquake was 80 miles to the east in the Pacific Ocean and that positioning meant a second devastating event was set in motion when an earthquake happens and it's epicenter is at sea the land shifts and of course it causes the water above to move where is that gonna go the low-lying lands near the coast were now in the firing line for the next stage of this catastrophe a tsunami that at its fastest was traveling 500 miles per hour even though they have very high sea walls along this coast these ways were high enough to crest those walls and flood the coastal plain when you see the pictures of the water tearing through that landscape tearing through people's homes and lives it doesn't matter whether you live a hundred miles away or you're on the other side of the globe on a very human scale you can actually imagine how terrifying that would being in the end the tsunami reached as far as six miles inland affecting around two hundred square miles of the East Coast the tsunami was devastating it wiped out the coastal towns had tore up the infrastructure and some 19,000 people were killed or missing I trained as a civil engineer and I'm really aware of how you know we build our buildings and our structures to withstand failure but in the face of a natural event like that how can we possibly design to take that into account it's phenomenal the amount of power that nature has nearby new efforts to shore up the coastal defenses are evident but while these areas are slowly being reclaimed other sites remain off-limits so you've got some areas that it's clear there was devastation and destruction but there are other areas that are just abandoned but look completely normal there's just no one there and the only people you can see a security guards the fact that the still security here and guards patrolling the area means that there's still some kind of threat [Music] on March 11th 2011 a series of disastrous events unfolding on the east coast of Japan through the region into turmoil but the situation was about to become even worse this region got hit really with a triple disaster first the earthquake then the tsunami but third the tsunami knocked out the local nuclear power plant the nuclear plant momentarily vanished behind a cloud of white smoke Saturday it's not clear how much radiation is leaking from the plant and when those nuclear reactors melted down that created a release of radioactivity that had an enormous impact on the region the government declared a nuclear emergency and the evacuation order was announced initially only those around a mile away from the plant were affected but soon Tommi yoga and its high school would be swallowed up by the rapidly expanding restricted area for people at the time the earthquake was strong but the tsunami only really affected the area by the sea so the next morning on March 12 everyone was going to go home and tidy up but then there was an instruction to leave the city immediately there was absolutely no time to prepare people just had to get in their cars and leave by the end of that second day the evacuation zone had stretched to a radius of around 12 and a half miles from the plant but as the feared spread of radiation continued other areas up to 34 miles away were also ordered to empty in total nearly 200,000 people were removed from their homes ing Tainui Sano Sangha to join in Ichi maturity in reality from the moment we left the city on March 12 until the 31st of March six years later the residents of Tomioka weren't allowed back home kind of got through saranagati that's it cutting through what remains of the off limit zone today is route 6 route 6 has to be the weirdest road trip you could ever undertake you're not allowed to go too many times in one day and you're not allowed to stop anywhere along that particular part of the route the radiation levels are just too high so you're told to keep your windows up and just keep on going I'm not gonna ear that he must give them off there are houses inside but of course nobody lives there there are stores around here but they've been left completely untouched the same as they were eight or nine years ago in recent years the most expensive nuclear cleanup operation in history has been underway and gradually more and more areas are being reopened contaminated topsoil has had to be removed in order to stop the spread and you can see across the region large and mounds are full of this soil they're trying to contain it mankind doesn't stand still after a disaster and although it's difficult and expensive to clean up that's what's happening and gradually smore and more areas are opening back up with a clean bill of health that could ominous or boil away the reason there are so many trucks is because they are carrying decontaminated things and building materials either way it's mainly work vehicles in this area if the radiation no who goes down the evacuation order in this area will gradually be canceled but at the moment this area is still a no-go zone [Music] the tsunami claimed thousands of lives but the fallout from the power plant has left behind a controversial legacy game called a bow-wow the greatest damage from the nuclear accident is not the spread of radiation or the increase in level of radiation but the people's lives that have been drastically altered I think that what is really polluted is not the air but the soul of the people the results of this accident are so paradoxical we think of it as a devastating nuclear release but the total amounts of radiation were not large enough according to the World Health Organization that others who studied it to cause mass fatalities or potentially any fatalities but here's the big irony in a follow-up study they found out that more than 1,600 people who were evacuated died partly from the stress of the evacuation many of those people were elderly or suffering from medical conditions and it's for similar individuals that toshko is now doing her part helping as an advisor for the local support center in education but I just had it done today June since the evacuation order was partially canceled I moved my residency documentation back I'm living in Tomioka City now and doing this job so for the people of Tomioka and for me the disaster changed our lives still to come towns on opposite sides of the planet succumbed to unexpected subterranean forces and a seemingly isolated disaster that has the potential to impact the entire planet strange disaster zones strewn across our planet settling some of these locations was tempting fate others are found in the most unlikely of places one such peculiar site is in Columbia County Pennsylvania where a town appears to have been wiped off the map in way it's a ghost town without the town the shot was taken in October of 1983 looking up toward the top of town and you can see there was a an entire town there that's now gone a freeway with no cars foundations yet no houses a police station but no police force it's the victim of something that most of us couldn't believe could happen [Music] until the 1970s Centralia was an ordinary American town but then people started reporting strange incidents dizzying fumes steaming cracks in the ground and a local boy narrowly survived falling into a sinkhole you would see steam coming out of this gigantic highway crack people wondered what was causing this they may have thought it was some kind of volcano down there maybe in fact the ground beneath their feet was on fire and it's still burning today so this is a borehole and if we unscrew this cap we are going to see what the fire is like underneath nice and hot I can smell the distinctive kind of still fresh smell of the fire Centralia sits on a vast network of abandoned coal mines it's thought a landfill fire found its way into this subterranean labyrinth and began spreading beneath people's homes there were citizen groups in Centralia saying hey you got to get us out of here but they still took almost two years to come up with a solution in 1984 the population of Centralia was relocated and the houses demolished [Music] today there is little evidence the community of Centralia ever existed but one question remains so how long could it burn I've heard figures like two hundred years two hundred fifty years but in the end nobody really knows it'll go until it stops burning runs out of fuel runs out of air neither of those are likely to happen anytime soon from a subterranean inferno in America to a perplexing disaster on the Indonesian island of Java one where the cause is known the other were rumour and intrigue enveloped the site there's homes there's factories there's religious shrines but there's nobody around it really looks a very strange environment there are roads but they stop at this strange banks that just seems to cut everything off it's got warning signs it's not clear what's on the other side but clearly something did happen here that has profoundly affected this whole area past this mysterious barrier further questions are raised so you can peek over the top you see the strangest thing a vast lake of mud some parts are still wet and running and bubbling and other parts of dried and cracked in the Sun the surface areas of mud is absolutely fast this goes on as far as the eye can see it's mind-bendingly large and the very unnerving thing that creeps up on you and you're looking at it is a sense of questioning is this still live is this finished or is there still yet more to come closer inspection of this muddy surface you can actually see things on it and see structures it's clear that there was something there before and the mud is now completely draped over everything so how did this happen was this a natural disaster did this happen in a man-made way [Music] turns out in this case it could be both but with the site submerged in suffocating mud scientists would struggle to prove it back in 2006 this was the flourishing rural district of parang MOA wanna once lived here I need to Logan's I am a cynic a muchacha this used to be my village just a cheery village used to be a prosperous village but not all you can see is the mud flow we used to live together as a family but now our relatives are scattered everywhere this is the lumpur Sidoarjo mudflow aka Lucy the relics of homesteads mosques and infrastructure fester around the edge of this enormous mud lake this was a buzzing thriving agricultural area around 60,000 people there were fields there was work to be done it was a fertile area this deadly deluge started without warning on May 29th 2006 today the Lucy mudflow Coates nearly six square miles of perang and it's still growing still 800 people were running for their lives they were shouting mud flow mud flow mud flow and then all of a sudden it got even bigger [Music] the mud flow buried 16 villages as well as hundreds of paddy fields commercial fish ponds and 24 factories [Music] ah yeah down here was with the houses the cemetery the school and the mosque used to be now everything is buried by the mud mula wanna and thousands more poor wronged residents have been evacuated ever since the impacts of all of this mud was utter carnage some sixty thousand people were displaced their homes just gone the area unlivable a gas pipeline was severed resulting in an explosion that killed 13 people what had been a very functional agricultural area was now a complete warzone you imagine these people just happily going along with their lives the hustle and bustle of everyday living but little did they know that there was something going on underground that was gonna change their lives instantly so you can get laddie I still remember that day I was running with my children and now I just don't know I'm worried about my children's future will I be able to put food on the table will I ever get a decent job now that's what I keep thinking about I don't know I'm just fighting for the children at first the cause of this baffling phenomenon was a mystery something caused an explosion of mud out of the ground it was jetting up more than 10 metres high into the sky and has been measured to have been erupting 180,000 cubic meters of muddy material every day now her own lies buried under 130 feet of mud economically it's been incredibly destructive it's estimated that it's cost about three billion dollars in terms of lost infrastructure and all the efforts to contain this mud lake have failed in Yama's so this is the mud when it's half dry you can see all the cracks when it's fully dry is soft like desert sand the mud is salty the salt content is very high whoa yes that's salty very salty this place used to be full of trees but now is like the desert vegetation can't grow here anymore the mud that's leaking out is not like the mud in your backyard it's full of various heavy metals and gas is coming up with the carbon dioxide and methane which is also very unhealthy for people so it's really an environmental catastrophe for the region there's little sign as to where all this noxious mud is coming from so why did this catastrophic mud flow start so abruptly what's clearly happened here is something extraordinary people don't just build buildings in and around places where muds gonna spew out of the land the mud that drowns this site is bubbling hot a clue to where it's coming from the complex ever-shifting tectonics below the 17,000 islands of Indonesia mean this archipelago is under Lane by a violent geology Indonesia is a lively place geologically there's earthquakes there's volcanoes but people have been living there for thousands of years this area itself is not necessarily directly affected by volcanoes but below pouring geothermal heat is pushing underground water mixed with mud up to the surface where it erupts as a mud volcano but the amount of mud coming out of the Lucy mud volcano confounded experts because it can only come from one place the Lucy mud volcano is tapping into a much larger geological phenomenon the gases emitted with the Lucy mud flow linked it to a large active volcano system 10 miles away that produces an endless supply of mud that powers through a system of natural tunnels but this still doesn't explain what caused the Lucy mud flow to suddenly start here there's the real question as to whether this is entirely a natural phenomenon natural disaster or is there something else that's gone on something may be from a human perspective that's helped to trigger this the finger of suspicion pointed to an oil and gas exploration company drilling in Peru the process of drilling for natural gas is really very tricky when you drill down in the earth you go through layers of rock to keep everything steel then you're punching a hole through that rock and the gas wants to squirt up out of that hole and anything that's mixed with the gas water oil muck mud that will come squirting up as well the gas itself is under huge pressure it's like opening a soda bottle you know and the way it all comes foaming out some claim that in 2006 below the district of parang the unthinkable happened a company drilling an exploratory well for natural gas basically bungled the drilling operation and that allowed pressurized water and mud to flow up to the surface from deep underground [Music] the theory is that this drilling just 200 yards from the lucemon eruption fractured an old fault system that links pouring to the active volcano now there is no way to stop the deadly flow of mud but the drilling company pointed to yet another cause an earthquake a couple of hundred miles away two days before might have opened up a fault or somehow set off this flow of mud the drilling company claimed the earthquake created the pressure to reactivate the fault system many experts dispute this possibility and those whose homes lie buried in mud are in no doubt why did they have to do the drilling in a residential area could they have done it somewhere else in the forest or something where there are no houses MOA Juana and her neighbors have received a small amount of compensation from the drilling company they gave us 20% when they said at first that they were going to pay the remaining 80% in cash but they didn't [Music] today the horrors of the recent past remain in plain view with the flow of mud shooting from the depths of the earth continuing relentlessly the landscape has been fundamentally radically altered but actually at heart this is a tragic human story there are people still fighting for compensation still to come a South American disaster zone covered in a strange white substance that holds the key to what happened here and scientists uncover an even greater threat when studying an Arctic tragedy the fate of the world's strangest disaster zones is not always determined in an instant some of the most malevolent forces creep up slowly and have devastating consequences [Music] one such disaster zone sits in the heartlands of Argentina where the remains of a town are set within a tortured landscape clinging to every surface is a white substance that paints this place a bleak monochrome hue and while there appears to be little evidence of what caused such destruction it is that bleached layer that holds the answers while most disaster zones lie deserted this one does not i'm pablo novak the only resident left in the ruins I stayed and I was sure someone would come back eventually it used to be so famous so many people used to come here from all over these are the ruins of Villa epic when for much of the 20th century this was a luxurious lakeside retreat this was started as the Rick Rio al maza a dance hall and because the room was small and lots of people came they also used it for a theater with theatre companies coming from Buenos Aires the town's main attraction however lay beside it the mineral and salt rich Lake famed for its supposed healing powers no one foresaw the true destructive potential it bore in 1985 an unprecedented period of rainfall began and soon the town's flood defences were overcome the floodwaters gradually slowly consumed the entire town and by 1993 it was submerged under 30 feet of water effectively becoming a modern-day Atlantis in the passing decades the water has since receded leaving behind the evidence of what occurred if we think that you can see now hadn't been seen for 20 years at the Bono and the twist is this highly saline water left the town covered in a thick layer of salt giving it this unique appearance [Music] for Pablo the town's last resident the battle to remain continues as long as I can walk talk and have a good memory I will stay here give me the remember yeah midday look [Music] from tectonic violence to silent killers mystifying natural events and man-made calamities humans have a habit of placing themselves in the firing line [Music] the final sight stands on the icy shores of Svalbard where immediate peril looms large but the cause of that danger threatens the entire planet [Music] small band feels like it's on the edge of the earth it is a brutal landscape cold barren and fierce in winter the place is completely covered with snow and in darkness and in summer you get 24 hours daylight and so it's a real area of extremes the town itself is the world's northernmost settlement of a thousand people or more you can't live any further north than this as the seasons change and the snow melts crumbling ruins appear on the mountainside above the main town but these old wrecks aren't the only deserted structures here most of the town seems to be doing fine and it's populated but then you have these pockets that are abandoned we're used to seeing old abandoned buildings on the brink of collapse but these buildings look fine it looks like you could move in it just doesn't seem to make sense that's because the real issue is hidden completely from view a first clue to what's happening here may be found in those collapsing ruins above on the edge of town of these old industrial looking features just standing there forlorn and forgotten the way these buildings have fallen into this condition makes you wonder if the same fate awaits those modern buildings in town a deadly threat hovers over this town and it could yet have far-reaching consequences the issues that are faced in this town are quite serious in fact potentially deadly already two lives have been lost what's happening here is terrifying what we're seeing here is the beginnings of something that could soon be beyond our control and the destructive force is unleashed could be catastrophic a distant and perilous place to visit in the 19th century over a hundred years ago this land held little value for most originally the only people who would go to this far northern collection of islands were whalers and people hunting seals but in 1906 an American named John Longyear came here looking for coal early 20th century late 19th century the world is going through changes which are driven by coal so a resource such as coal found in an area like this is potentially very very valuable the town of Longyear Biehn grew on the back of the coal industry but in the modern world the luster of coal has diminished and structures like these have paid the price more recently coal has become a sort of more of a dirty word than something people want and so the actual scaling back of coal mining globally has happened but it's also happened in in Svalbard a slump in the market could mean less demand for housing in the town but there is more to this story than first meets the eye the apartments that have been abandoned that is not related to the decline of coal there's a completely different problem there these people have been forced out because of a deadly threat to those buildings with all that mining in the area over the years you've got to wonder if that's created an issue has it dis stabilised the lands on them what danger lurks here why have virtually brand-new buildings been abandoned to the Arctic tundra in the northernmost town in the world sits a group of condemned buildings deemed unsafe to live in by the local authorities there's nothing wrong with the building it's structurally sound the problem is the location something has changed that makes it more dangerous it's a terrible feeling to see all these empty buildings standing around and nobody can use them nobody lives up here anymore Nils Lorenson lived in a similar apartment near here until recently and he's seen more and more places become off-limits to residents there are red zones a lot of places in this a lot of people are affected by these red zones and it cost a community and people a lot of money we have a kindergarden both my kids went there and that kindergarten is closed now it's a sad sad story during the summer months those apartments are not at risk but when winter comes the threat level rises as Nils experienced firsthand just a few years ago that was just leave my house and suddenly it was a big bang in the house and straightaway I understood that this was a Avalanche and it was big it was enormous had a lot of speed I saw in my daughter's bedroom and I can see straight down her wall because of the building has broken part Neil's apartment can be seen in aerial footage taken before the avalanche struck but it wasn't the first victim other buildings have also been destroyed in recent years in 2015 a massive sudden avalanche hit the town imagine a huge sheet of ice snow and stone crashing into these houses with such force that it literally lifted them up and deposited them across the street it soon emerged that eight people had been injured and two people had been killed nobody believed that it could be so large avalanches that could hit their houses and kill people and I think no nobody told it that good huh while Avalanche barriers stand above the town today for those hollowed out apartments the risks are just too great the danger that these other apartments faced in recent years this place now faces that same threat come winter they'll be right in the firing line and the order has come down until completely evacuate and demolish this place today it's not only those apartments that lie inside this red zone these structures weren't built in a dangerous location the location has become dangerous so what caused this standing solemnly on the outskirts of the town are the collapsing structures that hold the clues to the issue at hand and there's a startling conclusion being drawn the irony here is at the very industry that built this community also in dangers it and that's the process of mining and burning coal which releases so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that ultimately it starts to warm the planet at the local university glaciologist high disa vesta has been studying the changes affecting Svalbard the black curve is there changes in temperatures globally for the past 120 years and the orange curve is the changes in temperatures in Sababa when we look it's happening for the past two or three decades there the temperatures really diverging we see the temperatures in Svalbard increase twice as fast as the rest of the world since 1971 on average temperatures here have risen by 4 degrees Celsius this is the fastest warming place on earth it's like an exaggerated version of global warming if you will but it has deadly consequences and it's really changing the local environment and the people living there have to dramatically change their lifestyles to cope with it for the homes that have been lost already and for those now in the firing line this drastic temperature change has made large avalanches a very real threat this kind of avalanche isn't uncommon but it's not supposed to happen in the High Arctic in the super cold environment it was made possible by is unprecedented warmth today we can absolutely and draw a link between climate change and the 2015 Avalanche and unfortunately your predictions define that they will be more and more events like this in the future [Music] today avalanches are not the only consequence of climate change fall bard faces its glaciers are rapidly receding and the archipelago seas no longer freeze in winter the location may be remote but these alarming events are a warning to us all arctic regions like this are kind of like the canary in the coalmine whatever is happening to the whole planet is going to happen faster here because the weather there is so extreme in the first place it's human nature not to appreciate the scale of danger until it's right in front of us until the catastrophe is actually happening and if you wait until the snow and ice is sliding down the mountain towards you it's already too late [Music] you