Final Project: Hazards Investigation


No matter where you go in life, you will encounter possible geologic hazards. My goal is to make you a more informed citizen and consumer of your world. This assignment will help you find the resources to make those informed decisions.

Skills & Knowledge

As a result of this assignment you will be able to:

  • Asses at least three different possible geologic hazards of a given location
  • Consider what areas are at higher risk and lower risks for the selected hazards and location
  • Demonstrate the ability to access and interpret information about different geologic hazards in a given location
  • Communicate these hazards and nuances to a non-expert


Demonstrate your knowledge about high and low risk areas for a personally selected city. In your location of interest, select three or more hazards from this list that are important for your location (you may change your location of interest if you’d like):

  • Volcanoes (specify kind of volcano/types of expected hazards)
  • Earthquakes (could include: liquefaction, tsunamis, and/or other hazards related to earthquakes)
  • Floods (specify type and source)
  • Hurricanes/storm surge
  • Tornado
  • Mass wasting (specify type & source)
  • Consequences from climate change such as: drought, wildfire, water resource changes, sea level rise, etc.

Choose a street address within your location of interest. (This can be a location you may enjoy living, where someone you know lives, somewhere you might work, etc.) Determine the risks you may face in this location relative to the rest of the city and why. Create a teaching tool that illustrates what natural disasters are most likely, and how the risk at your street address compares to the rest of the city, and why the risk varies in different locations. This should be a resource you could share with someone with no geology background (perhaps a friend or family member). Communicate your understanding of the three hazards by:

  • Writing a narrative/story (the sky’s the limit!)


The following rubric should assist you in being able to assure you address the key components required for this assignment.

Hazard 1: indicated with a range of risks in the city shown/demonstrated, distinct from Hazard 2 & 3 (3 pts)

Hazard 2: indicated with a range of risks in the city shown/demonstrated, distinct from Hazard 1 & 3 (3 pts)

Hazard 3: indicated with a range of risks in the city shown/demonstrated, distinct from Hazard 1 & 2 (3 pts)

Hazard 1: risks accurately justified with sound geologic reasoning (3 pts)

Hazard 2: risks accurately justified with sound geologic reasoning (3 pts)

Hazard 3: risks accurately justified with sound geologic reasoning (3 pts)

Street Address/specific location chosen and described/indicated (1 pt)

Presentation Quality (clear, accurate, and appropriate for a non-expert audience) (4 pts)

All sources clearly cited (not providing citations will result in a failing grade) (2 pts)

(25 points total)

Other Considerations:

You will want to select a location where there have been many disasters rather than a particularly safe location to assure you can meet all of the requirements. (For example, if you chose Chicago, Illinois, you might be able to find information on mild flooding and/or tornadoes, but not much else. This would not fulfill all of the requirements for the assignment.)

Citation considerations–when citing your work be sure to indicate both on the maps/illustrations of hazards that they are clearly linked to your sources and also in your text. For example, “There is a 30% chance of a 8.0 or higher earthquake to occur in the greater Seattle area in the next 50 years (Schulz, 2015)” and then in your list of citations, you would have the full citation of the New Yorker article we read for the Earthquake reading log: Shulz, K. (2015). How to stay safe when the big one comes, The New Yorker, 28 July 2015.

If you are using images and/or maps, make sure you demonstrate understanding of the image/map. (i.e., describe why it’s important and what it shows for your topic. Don’t just slap on images with no explanation).

Here are some possible locations to choose from (not an exhaustive list!)

  • Seattle, WA
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Memphis, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Houston, TX
  • Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Port au Prince, Haiti
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Lima, Peru
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Naples, Italy

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