With the use of high-definition computer animation and new scientific data, this film reveals why the waters around Alcatraz Island and San Francisco Bay are so deadly.

Chilling, deadly currents made Alcatraz the most secure prison in history. No one ever escaped and many prisoners died trying. Beyond man-eating sharks and freezing water temperatures, there are a number of other physical obstacles.

Ranger John Cantwell reveals the surprising history of Alcatraz and its dramatic legends, while Patrick Barnard of the US Geological Survey Society takes us on his research vessel to map the seabed and discover data to complete a picture never before attempted. Our ability to drain the Bay completely reveals its most ominous feature - the San Andreas Fault. Along with other fault lines running up the Californian coast, this is the most deadly and lurks only a few hundred feet offshore. If ‘The Big One’ hits and the San Andreas Fault collapses completely, San Francisco will be utterly destroyed.

Much of San Francisco is built on silt. If the earthquake is strong enough, earth liquefies. Terrifying CGI shows the city crumbling to dust. But Alcatraz is literally ‘as solid as a rock’ and may become the safest place to be. Ironically, after decades of being a place of incarceration, Alcatraz may become a sanctuary.


Programme Details

1 x 60'
National Geographic