GLY 1880 – Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Other Hazards

General Education Credit: Physical Sciences
College Credit: 3

About The Course

This course explores the dangerous side of Earth’s natural processes. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and floods have devastating impacts on human lives. Major topics include plate tectonics, evaluating earthquake and volcanic hazards, the limits of our predictive abilities, the challenges of forecasting floods and hurricanes in a changing climate, and the necessity for decision-making despite scientific uncertainty. This is an asynchronous course, which means there are no “live” class requirements. You will complete the assignments, readings, and lectures on your own schedule. This is a GenEd physical science course. This course does not have prerequisites, but a basic knowledge of mathematics (basic algebra) is helpful.

Course Goals

Students will analyze recent and historical disasters and explore the interactions of humans with natural and built environments before, during, and after major events. The goals of this course include:

  • Examine the current state of scientific understanding about natural disasters.
  • Analyze scientific data and using case studies to understand how hazards can impact human lives and how preparation for and response to disasters can be improved.
  • Reflect on the social context in which disasters occur and how those social contexts interact with disaster preparation and response.
  • Explore how human actions reduce or exacerbate the impact of disasters.

Course Content Warning: This class is about hazards and natural disasters. People get hurt and die in disasters. While we will not dwell on macabre details, it is impossible to discuss hazards without talking about death—disasters are called disasters because of the impact on human lives.

Satisfied High School Graduation Requirement Subject: Elective
High School Credit: 0.5