Fall semester 2015
GE4150/GE5150 Natural Hazards
Description and scope of the course:
The class explores the causes and mitigation of a range of natural hazards and their impacts on society, including the concepts of risk and risk perception. An emphasis will be placed on volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods and their related hazards; current activity will be investigated as it happens. In addition to technical aspects of these hazards, we will examine the agencies that are responsible for hazard mapping, warnings, and planning.
At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to articulate the key concepts in social aspects of hazard and risk; evaluate flooding, landslide, volcanic and earthquake hazards using publicly available data; and will have mastered basic concepts in hazard mapping using ArcGIS.
Download a PDF of the syllabus here.
Dr. Greg Waite
Office phone: 7-3554
e-mail: gpwaite AT mtu DOT edu
MW from 1:05-1:55 in Dow 610
F from 1:05-1:55 EERC 421
Required Text: Smith, K., Environmental Hazards: Assessing Risk and Reducing Disaster, Routledge, 6th edition, 2013. (It's about $62 in paperback from Amazon) or buy directly from
Routledge.com with code RRK99 for about $60. Earlier editions of the book (written by Smith with co-author Petley) are also OK.
Prerequisites: GE2000 or GE2100 and junior or senior standing for GE4150, graduate student standing for GE5150
Readings: Multidisciplinary readings and analyses are a large part of this course; material will come from the book, journals, technical reports, and news outlets. Class discussion of the readings are an integral part of the course. Brief written analyses of the reading assignments will be due at the beginning of class the day the reading is due to be discussed. You will be allowed two unexcused free passes on the writen analyses. In addition, frequent in-class quizes will provide incentive to complete reading assignments on time.
Course web page: Some information is available here (http://www.geo.mtu.edu/~gpwaite/teaching/nathaz), but handouts, lecture PDFs, assignments, and most other correspondence will be done through the Canvas page (mtu.instructure.com).
Grades: Final grade will be based upon in-class quizzes and discussion (10%), homework, including written discussions of reading (25%), laboratory assignments, including term project (35%), mid-term (15%) and final exams (15%).
Online natural hazards-related resources.