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Unit information: Natural Hazards in Central America in 2021/22

Unit name Natural Hazards in Central America
Unit code EASCM1008
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Matthew Watson
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

Natural Hazards in Central America is a field-based course offered to students on the MSc in Volcanology. Students are introduced, in situ, to a range of volcanic hazards potentially including lava flows, pyroclastic flow and lahar deposits, airfall, ballistics and explosive activity. The field trip also encompasses visits to volcano observatories and site visits to monitoring and civil protection agencies.

Additional costs

In addition to the fees for the programme, a student taking this unit will encounter costs associated with this optional field trip (e.g. travel, accommodation, etc).

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, you will be able to:

  • Make observations of natural hazards first hand
  • Further develop and understanding of the physical processes governing the behaviour of natural hazards
  • Make measurements of volcanic activity using various geophysical techniques
  • Discuss in detail the climate, demographics, politics and natural hazards of Central America
  • Fully appreciate the difference between hazards in the developed and developing world
  • Describe the history of the impacts of natural hazards on Guatemala
  • Understand the political structure of the two government bodies (INSIVUMEH and CONRED) responsible for monitoring, mitigating and responding to natural hazards

Teaching Information


Assessment Information

The assessment is 100% coursework-based.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EASCM1008).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.