Geological Hazards

Discipline: Environmental Science
Instructor: Griggs
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 1 - Hilo - 17 January | Hawaii, United States
Prerequisites: None, although a previous Earth Sciences or Geology course would be helpful Download Syllabus

The distribution, recognition, evaluation, and impacts of geologic hazards.

Plate tectonics, earthquakes and faulting; volcanism, asteroid impacts, and tsunamis; landslides and mass movements; coastal erosion and inundation; subsidence, settlement and hazardous soils conditions; hydrology and flooding; hurricanes and Nor’easters; climate change and impacts.  The role of hazardous and catastrophic geologic processes in shaping Earth and in impacting people and communities; hazards and risks; land use planning and hazard mitigation.

Field Work

Country: Hawaii, United States
Day: 1 - Hilo - 17 January

Students will travel by bus to Kilauea, the most recently active of the five individual volcanoes making up the big island. Depending upon the state of eruption, which is clearly publicized, there are a range of opportunities to hike into a recently active crater, or observe it, high through an older lava tube, and observe thousands of years of accumulated lava flows along the East Rift as well as the potential to observe (from a distance) an eruption enter the sea. Additionally developed areas that have been inundated by past flows can usually be observed. Students will prepare a summary report that includes a description (and photographs) of the volcanic features, different types of lava and land-forms observed and relate these to the overall volcanic and plate tectonic history of the Hawaiian Islands and their evolution. Academic Objectives:

  1. Observe first hand the nature and magnitude of an active volcano.
  2. Develop an understanding from direct observation of the hazards posed by volcanoes
  3. Understand the relationship between the island of Hawaii and the other Hawaiian Islands, and the entire Hawaiian-Emperor Seamount Chain and the geologic history of the Pacific Plate.