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Unit information: Natural Hazards in Central America (without fieldwork) in 2017/18

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Unit name Natural Hazards in Central America (without fieldwork)
Unit code EASCM0050
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Juliet Biggs
Open unit status Not open

EASCM0046 Volcanic Hazards: Observation, Modelling and Geographical Information Systems



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

Students are introduced to physical (e.g. ash), derived (e.g. isopach/isopleth) geophysical (e.g. seismic or geodetic) and/or remote sensing observations of the volcanic centres and their associated hazards, and will learn how to handle and process potentially large (in terms of both data volume and physical extent) datasets.

Students will be challenged to research the socio-economic context of their work as a field-based unit is designed to do in situ.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  • Use remote sensing and/or geophysical data to investigate and delimit volcanic processes
  • Further develop an understanding of the physical processes governing the behaviour of volcanic hazards
  • Use measurements of volcanic activity using various geophysical techniques, including processing of remote sensing data.
  • 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 in Central America

Teaching Information

Supervised research over a three week period.

Assessment Information

Coursework (100%) consisting of a 3000 word report that will focus on a specific research question, addressable with the data provided.

Reading and References

  • Cameron, B.I., Walker, J.A., Carr, M.J., Patino, L.C., Matias, O., Feigenson, M.D. (2002): Flux versus decompression melting at stratovolcanoes in South-Eastern Guatemala. JVGR 119:21-50;
  • Drexler, J.W., Rose, W.I., Sparks, R.S.J., Ledbetter, M.T. (1980): The Los Chocoyos Ash, Guatemala: A major stratigraphic marker in Middle America and in three ocean basins. Quaternary Research 13:327-345;
  • Halsor, S.P., Rose, W.I. (1988): Common characteristics of paired volcanoes in Northern Central America. JGR 93B5:4467-4476;
  • Reynolds, J.H. (1980): Late Tertiary volcanic stratigraphy of Northern Central America. Bull. Volc. 43:601-607;
  • Rodriguez, L.A., Watson, I.M., Rose, W.I., Branan, Y.K., Bluth, G.J.S., Chigna, G., Matias, O., Escobar, D., Carn, S.A., Fischer, T.P. (2004): SO2 emissions to the atmosphere from active volcanoes in Guatemala and El Salvador, 1999-2002. JVGR 138:325-344;
  • Rose, W.I., Conway, F.M., Pullinger, C.R., Deino, A., McIntosh, W.C. (1999): An improved age framework for late Quaternary silicic eruptions in northern Central America. Bull. Volc. 61:106-120;
  • Vallance, J.W., Siebert, L., Rose, W.I., Giron, J.R., Banks, N.G. (1995): Edifice collapse and related hazards in Guatemala. JVGR 66:337-355.

Additional reading on particular volcanoes, and their hazards, will be available on Blackboard