Department of Geological Sciences associate professor Joe Meert was a scientific consultant on the film Earth: Making of a Planet
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Geological Sciences Professor Advises Filmmakers

Joe Meert may not be a movie star, but what this geologist knows about the history of the Earth was essential in making a new film on that topic. The University of Florida Department of Geological Sciences associate professor was a scientific consultant on Earth: Making of a Planet After premiering recently on TV in the United Kingdom, the CGI animated film will air for the first time in the U.S. on Sunday March 6 at 8 pm on both the National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel Canada.

Produced by two award winning companies, Pioneer Productions of London and Handel Productions of Montreal, the two-hour special shows how life developed on Earth from microscopic organisms to the complexities of the humans, plants and animals living today. Although the film uses some scientific language, it is intended for a non-technical audience.

Meert became involved when Pioneer’s head researcher Lindsey Truman contacted him to get scientific details on the triggering of the "snowball Earth" phenomenon after reading a paper on this topic by his research group published in the journal Nature in 2004.

“That led to a long conversation and they began to contact me about other parts of the show, particularly the first 45 minutes of programming on the early Earth and then later about the breakup of Pangea and the formation of Middle Eastern oil fields,” he explained.

He assisted Truman and Assistant Producer Zoe Elliot last summer and fall via phone and e-mail. Once the sections of the film using his information were completed, he previewed clips for technical accuracy.

"I have often thought it would be great to actually go back and see the events unfold in Earth history and the CGI animations in the film come close to fulfilling that dream," Meert said.

For those who don’t get the channels broadcasting this special, the film is available on YouTube under the title The Story of Earth – National Geographic. Links to the other five segments of the film appear on the right side of the page. The film should also be available on DVD soon.

Credits

Writer

Jean Feingold, Geological Sciences, 352-372-2207

Sources

Joe Meert, Geological Sciences, 352-846-2414

Photo

Jane Dominguez, Communications and Outreach
Neethis, Celestiamotherlode.net

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