College Of Arts And Sciences | Earthquakes and Volcanoes
E105 | 0212 | Merino/Ripley


This course, intended primarily for non-science majors, offers an
introduction to the most exciting—and terrifying—manifestations of
the dynamic processes that are continually reshaping our planet:
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  The class will present a general
overview of these violent natural catastrophes, examining their
fundamental causes, documentation of earthquake and volcanic
phenomena, the wide range of secondary effects—such as landslides,
mudflows, and tsunamis (tidal waves)—that are triggered by quakes and
eruptions, and the societal response to these natural disasters.  The
class will also focus on aspects of earthquakes and volcanic activity
that are related to critical public policy issues of our time: energy
and mineral resources, global climate change, nuclear arms control,
and natural hazard reduction.
The course has no prerequisites and requires no previous background
in earth sciences.  It consists of two 50-minute lectures and one 2-
hour laboratory per week.  The laboratory exercises have purposefully
been designed with an eye toward variety and include several "in-
class" written problems, one or more computer exercises, a two-hour
field trip to local rock outcrops, and two "experimental" exercises
in which students collect and analyze their own experimental data.
The laboratory portion of the course finishes with a two-week
volcanic and seismic hazards assessment of one or more population
centers in the Pacific northwest.  Grading in the course will be
based on a midterm and final examination (50%), problem sets (10%),
laboratory exercises (30%), and a laboratory final (10%).