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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Physical and Biological Sciences Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENVS 223
Course Title: *Environmental Disasters
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Introduction to environmental hazards and disasters. Emphasis on causes of extreme natural events, their geographic distribution, and human responses/adjustments. Cross-listed as GEOG 223. Prerequisite: C or better in GEOG 101 or ENVS 115.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

C or better in GEOG 101 or ENVS 115.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Natural Disasters
By Abbott, P. L. (McGraw-Hill)
Geohazards: Natural and Human
By Coch, Nicholas (Prentice Hall)
The Environment as Hazard
By Burton, Ian, et al (The Guilford Press)
An Analysis of Natural and Human-Induced Hazards
By Ebert, C. Disasters (Kendall/Hunt)
Course Objectives
  • To summarize the physical processes that result in extreme natural events.
  • To detail the characteristics of extreme events and the various impacts they can have on human systems.
  • To explain the range of human responses and adjustments to extreme events.
Measurable Learning
  • Describe earth and atmospheric hazards that appear suddenly.
  • Identify mitigation for the effects of environmental hazards.
  • Describe potential ways to prevent future environmental hazards.
Topical Outline:
  • Plate tectonics and physical hazards
  • Earthquakes and earthquake waves
  • Earthquake prediction and tectonic environments
  • Tsunami
  • Volcanoes: materials, hazards, and eruptive mechanisms
  • Volcanoes: types, behavior, and risks
  • Landslides
  • Sinkholes, land subsidence, and swelling soils
  • Climate and weather-related hazards
  • Streams and flood processes
  • Floods and human interactions
  • Waves, beaches, and coastal erosion
  • Hurricanes and nor’easters
  • Thunder storms and tornadoes
  • Wildfires
  • Impact of asteroids and comets

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Julie Estabrooks Date: October 18, 2005
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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