GV2HAZ-Natural Hazards

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Hazel McGoff

Email: h.j.mcgoff@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module introduces and investigates the origin, frequency and impacts of a range of natural hazards. These will be considered at both the local and global geographical scales.


This module aims to introduce the scientific basis of a range of natural hazards, discuss their effects, and consider hazard prediction, mitigation, and prevention. This will be facilitated through the use of well-documented case studies of past natural hazard events/disasters.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of this module it is expected that a student will be able to: * Describe and explain the nature and variety of natural hazards * Provide a detailed and reasoned account of how hazards arise, for example from vulcanicity, seismicity, land instability, wildfires,  snow avalanches and glacial lake outbursts * Discuss the key aspects of permafrost engineering hazards and drylands hazards * Critically evaluate different approaches to hazard mitigation and management * Outline the nature of historical hazard events and assess the lessons learned from them 

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to encourage team working, practical observation and recording skills, essay writing under exam conditions. 

Outline content:

The unit begins with an overview of the nature of natural hazards, and this is then followed by lectures on a range of topics relating to natural hazards, that may include: volcanic hazards, earthquake hazards and tsunamis, hazards of land instability and lake outburst, dryland hazards, permafrost and associated engineering hazards, wildfires, snow or ice avalanche hazards. Associated practical sessions will, for example, include investigations of slope instabilities, earthquake waves and their effects, volcanic rocks and minerals

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures and laboratory and computer-based practical sessions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Practicals classes and workshops 8
Guided independent study 77
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Two hours

    Requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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