“Geological Hazards” assignment
In this assignment, you will focus on ONE of these types of geological hazards, and answer the question in bold below (for the type of hazard you picked).
· Volcanic eruptions
· River floods
How well are we able to predict this geological hazard type, and limit the damage & casualties from it?
In order to address these questions, you will need to include information/factors such as:
· Geologically (i.e., in terms of how the process operates), are they predictable, or can we merely forecast? On what time-scale (hours, days, weeks, years, decades) can we make predictions – or can we only make projections? What are the precursors that scientists can observe that might indicate the eruption/earthquake/tsunami/landslide/flood? What sorts of instrumentation do we need to employ?
o There are different degrees to which we can state whether a hazard will happen. Planners/managers/ scientists use these different types of information in different ways.
Prediction: states when and where. E.g. “there’ll be an earthquake in Mahwah at 7:45 am next Tuesday”.
Forecast: likelihood of an event occurring. “e.g. we’re 50% certain that there will be a magnitude 4+ earthquake in Mahwah sometime in the next 50 years”.
· Geologically, what are the types of damage that result? What sorts of damages occur to humans (societies, infrastructure, economy, etc)
· Technologically & financially, are there constraints on monitoring and/or making predictions/forecasts? Are there differences in scientific monitoring & research in the US compared with other countries prone to these events?
· Societally, are there differences in how the general population perceives threats, and reacts to them? What political, economic, & social factors may influence whether a town or city evacuates from an imminent geological threat? What political, economic & social factors may influence how damaging this hazard may be? (Compare a developed nation like the US or Japan with third-world/underdeveloped countries such as Indonesia, etc.) Even if we can’t make predictions, how can we use the forecast to our advantage?
This is a research paper: you are to go above and beyond the information that we’ve covered in class and that’s in the textbook.
You must also ensure that everything is put in your own words and that you have citations for all of the information.
 If you choose earthquakes: focus on naturally-occurring ones (as opposed to those caused by anthropogenic activities such as fracking / deep injection wells)
 If you choose landslides: there are many different types of mass movements. You should do a broad-based approach, but feel free to eliminate slow types (creep, solifluction).
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