EARTHSCI 705 : Geohazards


2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Contemporary methods used to identify and assess natural hazards, techniques used for the probabilistic forecasting, spatial representation and communication of hazards. How the relationship between hazard information, risk mitigation and emergency management is addressed. There will be a strong focus on the use of case studies.

Course Overview

This course provides an insight into the interdisciplinary nature of Geohazards research. It describes current methods for identifying and assessing volcanic, seismic and landslide hazards, and describes how these hazards can be represented spatially in hazard maps. It also discusses how hazard information combines with exposure and vulnerability data to assess and manage risk, and how this is carried out in multi-hazard environments such as New Zealand. The course stresses the importance of good science communication in effective hazard, risk and emergency management, and teaches what can help or hinder this communication process.
The course is based on a series of “workshops”, which incorporate both lectures and participatory activities. Case studies from around the world are used to illustrate concepts, approaches and challenges. A role-playing exercise will bring students together with stakeholders of hazard research, such as emergency managers, thus providing students with first-hand experience of the real world of emergency management. A one-day practical field experience around the Auckland Volcanic Field will give students an exciting opportunity to face the practicalities and challenges of geologic hazard assessment, risk mitigation and emergency management in a big city.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Comprehend the difference between hazard, vulnerability, capacity and risk and use terminology correctly (Capability 3, 6 and 8)
  2. Comprehend the main principles of geological hazard assessment (Capability 3 and 5)
  3. Recognise the interdisciplinary nature of hazard research and hazard management (Capability 1, 3, 6 and 7)
  4. Communicate science effectively in suitable formats to a range of audiences (Capability 1, 5, 6 and 8)
  5. Develop and demonstrate knowledge of operational hazard, risk and emergency management practices in New Zealand (Capability 3 and 4)
  6. Actively engage and participate in a range of learning activities (Capability 4, 5 and 7)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 40% Individual Coursework
Assignments 30% Group Coursework
Block mark 30% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Block mark
This course is 100% internally assessed. There will be no final exam. Your final mark for the course will be a combination of a course contract and three major assignments. The course contract comprises 30% and the assignments 70% of your final grade. If you fulfill the course contract, you are guaranteed 30%, plus whatever marks you earn in the assignments. 


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Key Topics

  1. Landslide hazard assessment, impacts, and mitigation
  2. Volcanic hazard assessment, impacts, and mitigation 
  3. Seismic hazard assessment, impacts and mitigation
  4. Auckland’s hazards and how we manage them 
  5. Hazard and risk communication and visualisation 
  6. Risk Assessment
  7. Disaster Risk reduction
  8. Field trip:  Auckland Volcanic Field
  9. Simulation exercise: Auckland Volcanic Field eruption
  10. Riskscape workshop

Special Requirements

EARTHSCI 705 uses a course contract to support student learning and to facilitate teacher-student and student-student collaboration and engagement. If you follow the contract for the entire semester, you will receive 100% for the course contract component of your grade (worth 30%), plus whatever marks you achieve in the three assignments (worth 70%). If you do not meet the expectations in the contract, you will have marks removed from this component. You are responsible for being aware of and following the contract stipulations. The grades for the course contract component are spread over three blocks: Block 1 (10%); Block 2 (10%) and Block 3 (10%). At the end of each block, marks for that block will be released. Anyone who has not received full marks for the block will receive an email from the course coordinator explaining the breaches of contract that have led to a lower mark.
The Course Contract expects you to:
1. Attend all workshops in all three blocks, arriving on time and staying for the duration (unless you have a valid excuse such as sickness, proven with a doctor’s certificate. Please note that work, workload, being on holiday, and computer and transport issues are not valid reasons);
2. Meet due dates for all three major assignments; any extensions must be pre-arranged with the course coordinator;
3. Prepare all work with integrity and avoid plagiarism (note that all work uploaded to canvas will be checked by Turnitin, which is an online plagiarism checker);
4. Complete all preparation tasks by due dates, uploading to Canvas as and when required (note that extensions will not be given for preparation tasks);
5. Not use your device during classes and workshops unless it is needed for an activity or notetaking;
6. Give thoughtful peer feedback during class workshops and work faithfully with your group on other collaborative tasks (e.g., group assignment, sharing papers, commenting on drafts, peer editing, on-line discussion boards, answering peer questions);
7. Be honest and open to new approaches during class;
8. Encourage a diversity of opinions on all topics and give everyone the opportunity for equal participation;
9. Participate fully in both whole-class and group activities, and try your best!

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 22 hours of lectures, 20 hours of field work and participatory exercises/workshops, 30 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 78 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including field trips and workshops to receive credit for components of the course.
The course will not include live online events.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable delivery.

The course is not available to Offshore or Online students.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

n/a - readings will be provided during the course. 

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Feedback on this course was generally positive and thus no major changes are necessary this year. 

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

COVID-related information: 
Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode 
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will be done remotely. 
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2023 10:51 a.m.