GEOL113-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Environmental Geohazards

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 16 July 2018
End Date: Sunday, 18 November 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 27 July 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 12 October 2018


An introductory course emphasising geological hazards in the natural environment such as volcanic activity, earthquakes and land instability. The course includes a one-day workshop and one day field visits relating to hazards affecting Christchurch and north Canterbury.

GEOL113 GeoHazards and Disasters provides an introduction to the dynamic nature of the Earth’s surface, and the hazards that many geological phenomena pose for human society. Emphasis is placed on natural processes, specifically earthquake, volcanic, tsunami, and landslide hazards, with selected examples of both disastrous events and hazard mitigation techniques. There is a large focus on the recent earthquake sequences in Canterbury in both lecture and practical components of the course.  

All of the teaching team are heavily involved in active research related to the Canterbury and Kaikoura-Hurunui earthquakes.  This research is utilised in lectures and practical classes.  

The topics covered are relevant to a wide range of disciplines including earth sciences, engineering, geography, environmental management, emergency management, social sciences, outdoor recreation, land-use planning, conservation, and secondary school teaching.

Learning Outcomes

  • Goal of the Course
    To introduce students to A) hazards of a geological origin that impact people, property and/or infrastructure at or on the Earth’s surface; and B) the concepts and applications of disaster impact reduction  

    Learning Outcomes
    Students successfully completing this course will have a basic understanding of:
  • how plate tectonics drives the earth system to produce hazard processes
  • the nature, causes and effects of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, landslides and floods;
  • how natural processes as described above impact humans and society
  • geological hazard and risk; and how they can be assessed and mitigated
  • concepts and applications of disaster impact reduction and disaster management

    Students will be able to:
  • interpret the landscape to identify potential geohazards which could impact society
  • analyse problems of managing geohazards within complex natural and human systems
  • identify and prioritize resources for the mitigation of geohazards (workshop)
  • create solutions for reducing risk (workshop)
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.

Timetable Note

Three 1 hour lectures per week: schedule to be advised

Practical classes
There are two 2-hour laboratories and a one day workshop on campus on one weekend.

Course Coordinator

Tom Wilson


Tim Stahl , Tim Davies and David Bell


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Workshop exercises 11 Sep 2017 30% Workshop exercises
Essay 13 Oct 2017 30% Essay
In Class Assessments 40% In class assessments (5 modules spread across the course, 8% each)

Geohazards Workshop (30%)
All students taking the course are required to attend a one day long workshop. The workshop is designed to introduce students to techniques for identifying and managing geohazards, with emphasis on earthquake disaster impact reduction. Both individual and group exercises will be undertaken. Students prevented from attending due to illness should apply for special consideration through the official academic process, and may be required to submit an alternative exercise. Further information, including any background reading, will be provided.

Scientific Report (30%)
Students may pick one essay topic from a selection of ten available questions.  There are two topics available for each of the five modules presented within the course.  The essay topic list will be issued at the beginning of the course and is due at the end of the teaching semester.  The essay has a word limit of 2,500 words and should include supporting resources such as tables, figures and references.

This is supported by two 2-hour laboratories on how to undertake a literature review and scientific report writing.

In-Course Assessment (40%)
Each of the five modules feature in-class assessment worth 8%, summing to a total of 40%.  Assessment may take the form of in-class exercises or on-line quizzes.  Each module lecturer will determine the nature and timing of the assessment.


Week #  -  Week  -  Lectures 3 x 1 hr  -  Lecturer  -  Practical
29  -  TBC  -  Intro to Geohazards & Disasters  -  Tim Davies
30  -  TBC  -  Earthquake Hazards + Disasters  -  Tim Stahl  -  Lab
31  -  TBC  -  Earthquake Hazards + Disasters  -  Tim Stahl  -  Lab
32  -  TBC  -  Earthquake Hazards + Disasters  -  Tim Stahl
33  -  TBC  -  Landslides Hazards + Disasters  -  David Bell  -  Workshop (Tom Wilson, Tim Stahl)
Saturday xx August
34  -  TBC  -  Landslides Hazards + Disasters  -  David Bell
37  -  TBC  -  Geohazards & Disasters; Essay  -  Tom Wilson/Tim Davies
38  -  TBC  -  Volcanic Hazards + Disasters  -  Tom Wilson
39  -  TBC  -  Volcanic Hazards + Disasters  -  Tom Wilson
40  -  TBC  -  Tsunami Hazards + Disasters  -  TBC
41  -  TBC  -  Tsunami Hazards + Disasters  -  TBC
42  -  TBC  -  Geohazard & disasters case-studies + course summary  -  Tom Wilson/Tim Davies

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Goff, J. & de Freitas, C.R; Natural Hazards in Australasia ; Cambridge University Press.

Course links

Library portal


Relationship of GEOL113 to other courses
GEOL113 GeoHazards and Disasters is designed as a general interest paper that may add breadth to any degree and is suitable for students with no previous experience in either earth sciences or other science subjects. GEOL113 is an acceptable prerequisite for entry into 200-level Geology courses when combined with GEOL111. Entry into GEOL 200-level courses requires 30-points of pre-requisite coursework at 100-level, including 15 points from GEOL111 and a further 15 points from either GEOL113 or GEOL115.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

Relationship of GEOL 113 to other courses
GEOL 113 Environmental Geohazards is designed as a general interest paper that may add breadth to any degree and is suitable for students with no previous experience in either geology or other science subjects. It may be acceptable as a prerequisite for 200-level Geology courses, along with one of GEOL111 or GEOL112, provided a student gains a B+ average, or a standard acceptable to the HOD.

Goal of the Course
To introduce students to natural hazards of a geological origin that impact people, property and/or infrastructure at or on the Earth’s surface. Case studies are selected which emphasise the societal effects, as well as those on the landscape, and current or recent examples are chosen where appropriate.


Marks and Grades
The Department of Geological Sciences uses the following scale to convert marks into grades:
100 – 90 A+ 75 – 79 B+ 60 – 64 C+
89 – 85 A 70 – 74 B 55 – 59 C
84 – 80 A- 65 – 69 B- 50 – 54 C-
Below 50 D/E

The Department of Geological Sciences reserves the right to adjust this mark/grade conversion, when deemed necessary.

Late Work
It is the policy for this course that late work is not accepted. Or, late work should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of why the work is late.  The work will be marked and marks will be subtracted for each day the work is late.  Days late include week-end and holidays.  

Academic Liaison
Alex Nichols (room 321,, phone (03) 364 2987 ext 94410) is in charge of liaison with students in geology courses.  Each year level will appoint a student representative(s) to the liaison committee at the start of the semester.  Please feel free to talk to the Academic Liaison or the student rep about any problems or concerns that you might have.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities should speak with someone at Disability Resource Service. Their office is on Level 2 of the Puaka-James Hight Building (Central Library). Phone: +64 3 369 3334 or ext 93334, email:

Policy on Dishonest Practice
Plagiarism, collusion, copying and ghost writing are unacceptable and dishonest practices.
• Plagiarism is the presentation of any material (text, data, figures or drawings, on any medium including computer files) from any other source without clear and adequate acknowledgement of the source.
• Collusion is the presentation of work performed in conjunction with another person or persons, but submitted as if it has been completed only by the names author(s).  
• Copying is the use of material (in any medium, including computer files) produced by another person(s) with or without their knowledge and approval.
• Ghost writing is the use of another person(s) (with or without payment) to prepare all or part of an item submitted for assessment.  

In cases where dishonest practice is involved in tests or other work submitted for credit, the student will be referred to the University Proctor.  The instructor may choose to not mark the work.  

Reconsideration of Grades
Students should, in the first instance, speak to the course co-ordinator about their marks.  If they cannot reach an agreeable solution, students should then speak to the Head of the Geological Sciences Department. Students can appeal any decision made on their final grade.  You can apply at the Registry to appeal the final grade within 4 weeks of the end of the semester.  Be aware that there are time limits for each step of the appeals process.  

Special Considerations Applications
If you feel that illness, injury, bereavement or other critical circumstances has prevented you from completing an item of assessment or affected your performance, you should complete a Special Considerations application form, available from the Registry or the Student Health and Counselling Service.  This should be within five days of the due date for the required work or the date of the examination.  In the case of illness or injury, medical consultation should normally have taken place shortly before or within 24 hours after the due date for the required work, or the date of the test or examination.  For further details on Special Consideration applications, please refer to the Enrolment Handbook or visit  You have the right to appeal any decision made, including Special Considerations decisions.  

Missing of Tests
In rare cases a student will not be able to sit a test.  In such cases, the student should consult with the course co-ordinator to the Head of the Department of Geological Sciences to arrange alternative procedures.   This must be done well in advance of the set date for the test.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $865.00

International fee $3,788.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Geological Sciences .

All GEOL113 Occurrences

  • GEOL113-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018