Geology 108: "Crises of the Earth"
(a.k.a. 'Death & Destruction' or 'Disasters with Masters')

Check out Earth Alert for current world events! of  February 22-26, 1999



Teaching Assistants

Schedule &

Bill Leeman

Dale Sawyer

Sunitha Kesavan

Martin Long





Calendar & topics (with WWW links to other topical sources)

Week of:

Topic of the week

Readings, assignments, etc.

Jan 18

Introduction and Plate boundary exercise

Abbott, Ch. 1

Jan 25

Plate tectonics

Abbott, Ch. 2
Plate boundaries figure

Feb 1


Abbott, Ch. 3
Homework #1 due 3 Feb

Feb 8

Earthquake hazards

Abbott, Ch. 4 & 5
Homework #2 due 12 Feb

Earthquake web report template

Feb 15

Exam #1 (17 Feb), web-page tutorial

Homework #3 due 19 Feb

Feb 22

Volcanoes: What we will cover

Volcano types & deposits

Volcanic hazards

Abbott, Ch. 6

ETE Volcano module
USGS Volcano Photoglossary

Homework #4 due 15 Mar

Mar 1

Volcanic hazards

Abbott, Ch. 7

Earthquake web report due (5 Mar)

Volcano web report template

Mar 8

Spring break (no classes)

EQ Reports can now be seen on the WWW!

Mar 15

Climate change

Abbott, Ch. 9

Homework #5 - Climate change - due 22 Mar

Mar 22

Weather & severe storms

Abbott, Ch. 10

Volcano web report due (26 Mar)

Mar 29


Exam #2 (31 Mar)

Abbott, Ch. 11

Apr 5


Abbott, Ch. 12

Apr 12

Great dyings, extinctions

Abbott, Ch. 14

Apr 19

Impacts with space debris

Abbott, Ch. 15

3rd web report due (23 Apr)

Apr 26

Population & societal issues; Man & nature

Exam #3 (30 Apr)

Abbott, Ch. 16

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Summary of Geology 108 Assignments

A summary of written assignments for Geology 108 is given below. The list will be expanded during the semester. All assignments will be due on a specific announced date; late assignments will not be accepted except by written request at least one day prior to the due date and only for valid reasons.

  1. Plate tectonics in-class group exercise - due 29 Jan
  2. Homework #1 - Plate motion calculations - due 3 Feb
  3. Homework #2 - Virtual earthquakes - due 12 Feb
  4. Homework #3 - WWW earthquake scavenger hunt - due 19 Feb
  5. Homework #4 - Volcanic hazards & plate tectonics - due 15 Mar
  6. Homework #5 - Climate change - due 22 Mar

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This course addresses a variety of geological processes that, when they adversely affect mankind, are described as natural hazards or disasters. The structure of the course will involve a lecture format interlaced with selected video presentations, in-class exercises, and regular reading assignments followed by brief in-class quizzes and/or short homework assignments; the lectures will generally elaborate on but not replicate the readings. Student research groups will be formed to produce three topical reports, preferably in a web-page format; topics will include earthquakes, volcanoes, and one additional type of hazardous phenomena. There will be three in-class exams but no comprehensive final exam.

Cumulative grade will be based on exams (40%), web reports (40%), and in-class quizzes and homework (20%). As a matter of policy, there will be no make-ups for missed exams or assignments except by prior written request.

Regular attendance is essential to your success in this class. Attendance will be monitored via the in-class quizzes and overall average grades will be weighted according to the percent of classes attended.

Most readings will come from the text: P.L. Abbott (1999) Natural Disasters. Approximate assignments are listed in course calendar.

Supplemental lab course (Geol 106)

An introductory geology lab course is recommended for anyone who is considering a major in Geology/Geophysics.

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Updated: 8 Mar 99