Fall 2017: Natural Hazards and Disasters

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Natural Hazards and Disasters

Courses: OEAS 250N (CRN 18872); three credits; and OEAS 250N (CRN 18879), 1 Credit
Course title: Natural Hazards and Disasters
Instructor: Dr. Hans-Peter Plag
Term: Fall 2017, August 28 - December 12, 2017
Time: Mondays and Wednesday, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM and Wednesday, 2:00 PM -2:55 PM
Location: DRGS 2106
Office Hours: On request.

Guidelines for Case Study 1: Extraterrestrial Hazards

The case study paper is due 09/29/2017, 6:00 PM.

Length: 1,500 words minimum, 2,000 words of text maximum. Figure captions and reference citations are not included in the word count.

Readership: Please, write the case study paper in a way that a non-expert can understand the text. Imagine that you are explaining the hazards that originate outside of the Earth using a specific case. The choice of the case is up to you, but you should select a case for which evidence is available.

Format: Typed, please. One-and-a-half line spacing preferred. Start with the title of your Case Study. Then write you name and the class identifier below the title.

Give the following sections brief headlines and number the sections so that you can cross-reference section if needed by referring to, for example, Section 3.

Contents: The paper should have five sections:

  1. The Introductory section should say where and when your selected case occurred and why you selected it. For extraterrestrial hazards, you may also select an hypothetical event based on and assessment that has been carried out and published in the scientific literature. Is an event of the type and size you selected frequent or of very low probability and what are the potential impacts of such an event?
  2. Here, you should describe the hazard, it’s type, origin, and the physical/chemical characteristics, as well as the spatial and temporal extent and severity. If there is a scale to measure the severity, explain this scale and provide the rating of the event. If you chose an event that took place in the past, give the time, duration, location, etc. For an possible event that could take place in the future, provide information where such an event could take place and what probability can be attached to the event occurring.
  3. Next, a description of the resulting disaster should be provided. What are the main direct impacts and losses and what losses occurred subsequently or indirectly?
  4. In this section, you should describe how preparedness, early warning, and response made the disaster worse or less pronounced. This section addresses the processes that link hazard and disaster and determine the extent of the disaster.
  5. In your concluding section, say something about the preparedness for a similar event in a region you can select. What is the awareness for such hazards? What are the main impacts that could occur in this region? Are there published plans to improve awareness and preparedness it in future?

Figures, Diagrams, Tables: Include a picture (one will be enough, but you can use more, if needed) relevant to the hazard and/or the disaster caused by the hazard. If you selected a potential future event, include a figure that is relevant to understand the potential disaster. Cite the source of any pictures and give them short captions so that the image content would be clear to anyone not reading the text. Place the caption below the figure. The caption is not included in the word count. If you use a table, place a caption above the table.

Sources and Citations: Use at least three different sources for your research! Where to find the information? Go to the original data sources wherever possible. Some useful and reliable sites are provided in the class slides, but there are many others:

Avoid using direct quotations unless you are quoting an eye-witness account, otherwise put the information into your own words. If you do need to quote directly, use not more than 30 words, use quotation marks, and cite your source at the end of the sentence.

If you find yourself using a single source for a large part of your paper, then it is better to say at the start that “the following material is taken largely from XXXXX” where the X’s are the source material. However, using a single source is strongly discouraged. The best Case Studies will use multiple sources for their material.

Include citations of your source materials throughout your case study and list all the full references together at the end of the paper (see example at the end of this page). If you include a piece of information found on the Internet, make sure it is clear at the end of that sentence where you found the information by citing the website preferably by the author and year, if known, or the organization and year. If the year is not known, use “n.d.” instead. For each website you used, include a reference in the list of references, giving the exact URL and the date when you visited the web site.

Questions: And if you have any questions, just ask!

Example References

Citations and Reference should follow the documentation style defined by the Council of Scientific Editors, known as the CSE style. See SSF-Guide or the WISC page for more information on the CSE style. Examples of acceptable references are given in the guidelines.

Journal article:
Kreemer, C., Blewitt, G., Hammond, W. C., & Plag, H.-P., 2006. Global deformations from the great 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake observed by GPS: implications for rupture process and global reference frame, Earth Planets Space58, 141-148

Article in Book/Collection:
Plag, H.-P., Jules-Plag, S., 2013. Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Ecosystems. In Pielke Sr., R. A., Seastedt, T., Suding, K. (eds.): Vulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate, Volume 4 of: Climate Vulnerability: Understanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources, 163-184, Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-384703-4.00105-2.

Plag, H.-P. and Pearlman, M., eds., 2009. Global Geodetic Observing System: Meeting the Requirements of a Global Society on a Changing Planet in 2020, Springer Berlin, 332 pages. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-02687-4.

Technical Report:
Plag, H.-P., Brocklebank, S., Brosnan, D., Campus, P., Cloetingh, S., Jules-Plag, S., Stein, S., 2015. Extreme Geohazards — Reducing the Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience. European Science Foundation.

Web Page:
MARI, 2017. Fall 2017: Natural hazards and Disasters. http://www.mari-odu.org/academics/2017f_disasters. Accessed on September 14, 2017.