HONS: Natural Hazards and Disaster Preparedness
CORS 220 (3 credits)
2 lectures per week: TR 9.30am-10.45am
Department of Geological Sciences
Office: McClure 303B
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 3-4 p.m.
Natural disasters are a fact of everyday life. On almost any day, international news bulletins tell of some disaster that has befallen a remote location on Earth. Sometimes the disasters are on our doorstep. Most places in the world are at some risk from what nature can impart, whether it be geologic hazards (e.g., earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, and sinkholes), weather and climate hazards (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, lightning strikes, wildfires, heat waves, drought, and global warming); and extraterrestrial hazards (e.g., meteorite impacts, solar flares, and gamma ray bursts).
Disasters are also among the few events on Earth that unite humans. They often emphasize our innate desire to reach out and help our fellow people. Unfortunately, the aid is often too little too late or is provided in a disorganized or ineffective manner (e.g., Haiti earthquake relief in 2010). More advantageous is advanced planning, forethought, informed decision-making, and dissemination of information through education (i.e., disaster preparedness). In order to be sufficiently prepared for any disaster, we must understand the science behind the hazard itself.
This course will examine the numerous types of natural hazards that people must face. It will examine the potential effects of natural hazards on the landscape of the Earth in general, as well as on populated areas specifically, through numerous case studies. It will illustrate both the short-term and long-term hardships and consequences of natural disasters on the social, economic, and political arenas. It will also highlight those locations (particularly using examples in the U.S.A.) where disasters are likely to occur in the future, scientific analyses of the nature of the hazards involved, and how we can prepare for them in such a way so as to minimize the damage and number of casualties.
The course will consist of the following major themes (weeks 1 through 15):
* Overview of Catastrophic Events in Nature
* Plate Tectonics
* Earthquake-induced tsunamis
* Volcanic eruptions
* Sinkholes, subsidence, and expansive soils
* River floods
* Storm surges and related flooding
* Shoreline hazards
* Thunderstorms and tornadoes
* Meteorite Impacts and other extraterrestrial hazards
* Global warming
Prescribed Course Materials:
Textbook: Natural Hazards and Disasters, Third Edition (Hyndman and Hyndman). Available in the UI bookstore.
Supplementary Course Materials
Quizzes on Blackboard
Online Class Materials
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NATURAL DISASTERS IN THE NEWS
Natural Disasters in the News Articles
Natural Hazards Websites
Natural Hazards General Info
USGS Natural Hazards Gateway
The Disaster Center
Most Expensive Natural Disasters (20th Century)
Highest Death Tolls in Natural Disasters (20th Century)
Death Tolls in Natural Disasters (by Category)
Emergency Disasters Database
Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
Simon's Earthquake Information Resources webpage
Daily Updates of World Earthquakes (USGS)
Earthquakes in the US, Last 7 days (USGS)
Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, last 2 weeks
Most Recent Significant Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest
Info on Significant Earthquakes by year (USGS)
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (NOAA-National Weather Service)
National Geophysical Data Center: Tsunami Data
Weekly Updates of Volcanic Eruptions Worldwide
Epic Disasters website (Volcanoes)
National Hurricane Center (National Weather Service)
Tornadoes and Severe Weather (Disaster Center)
National Weather Service Fire Danger Forecasts
National Interagency Fire Center
Near Earth Object Program (NASA)
Torino Impact Hazard Scale
North American Impact Craters
Visit Simon's website!