updated 5/12/2005 9:46:41 PM ET 2005-05-13T01:46:41

Scientists are investigating the site of the undersea earthquake that set off last year's tsunami in South Asia, the British Broadcasting Corp. and the United States' Discovery Channel said Thursday.

The broadcasters said in a statement that scientists hoped to compile a second-by-second account of the disaster using computer-generated images, from the first subterranean tremors to the moment of impact on shore. This will be shown in a two-hour documentary, "Journey to the Heart of the Tsunami."

An international team of 21 scientists operating from a deep-water ship, the Performer, will spend 17 days researching the epicenter, where plates in the earth's crust collided beneath the Indian Ocean, the statement said.

Members of the team — which team includes seismologists, geophysicists, biologists and seabed visualization experts — are diving 3 miles to the sea floor to investigate the subduction area, where one tectonic plate is being forced beneath its neighbor.

"'Heart of the Tsunami' will be a genuine scientific inquiry of significant interest to geologists, physicists and seismologists, and indeed, to many branches of science in general," said Julian Ware, head of special projects at makers, Darlow Smithson Productions.

"We expect to return with data that will be hugely beneficial to our understanding of such a phenomenon, while at the same time providing dramatic TV footage of the epicenter that triggered the Tsunami."

The documentary will air in Britain and the United States later this year.

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