Dangerous Earth

Subject ERTH20001 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x one hour lectures per week; 1 x two hour practical workshop per week
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Assoc Prof Mark Quigley


Email: mark.quigley@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

An introduction to the study of natural hazards on the Earth, at various different spatial and temporal scales, their impact on human populations and principles of planning, response and mitigation. The course will cover hazards of geological and meteorological origin, as well as major global catastrophes such as those that may be produced by climate change and large impact events. Topics to be covered include: Earthquakes and their consequences; Tsunamis and other coastal hazards; Volcanoes and volcanic eruptions; Land instability and mass movements; Flooding and flood hazards, Drought and bushfire hazards; Tropical cyclones, thunderstorms and tornadoes; Extraterrestrial impacts and mass extinction events; Climate change and its implications for human populations; Managing and reducing the risks from natural hazards. At the end of this subject, students will have acquired: an understanding of the nature and causes of natural hazards, their distribution and predictability; a knowledge of how natural disasters impact on human populations and activities, and the kinds of responses that are possible; an appreciation of what can be done to manage and minimise the dangers posed by natural disasters.

Learning Outcomes:

The subject aims to introduce students to the nature and causes of various natural hazards, and to consider ways in which these impact on human populations, as well as how, through appropriate planning and management strategies, these effects can be understood, predicted, avoided and mitigated. The subject maintains a balance between understanding the phenomena involved and managing their effects.


Group and individual assignments during semester (50%), a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (50%).

Prescribed Texts:

Donald Hyndman and David Hyndman, Natural Hazards and Disasters, 2nd Edition Brooks/Cole 2009, or 3rd Edition 2011

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

At the completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • analyse and interpret natural phenomena
  • critically evaluate responses to actual disasters
  • assess appropriate strategies for dealing with natural disasters
  • research complex events in an interdisciplinary context
  • contribute constructively to group projects
  • understand basic principles of risk analysis
  • communicate results of their work to a wider group

This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

Students undertaking this subject will be expected to access online information about natural disasters. Appropriate IT facilities are widely available on campus in existing work spaces.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environmental Science major
Environments Discipline subjects
Physical Geography
Physical Geography
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED
Related Breadth Track(s): Living in Australia's Hazardous Ecosystems
Climate and Water
Understanding Disasters, Their Management and Planning

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