Summer 2024 - GEOG 312 OL01

Geography of Natural Hazards (4)

Class Number: 1574

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 13, 2024
    Tue, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jonathan Cripps
    Office Hours: Wednesday (10 am – 1 pm, 2 pm to 4 pm). In-person (RCB 7132) or via Zoom. Drop in 10 – 11 am, or if instructor is available. Bookable 15 minute appointments (11 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 4 pm):
  • Prerequisites:

    One of GEOG 100, 104 or 111 or one of EASC 101 or 104.



An exploration of human response to our hazardous Earth. The dynamic causes of natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides and floods will be illustrated. Students will gain an appreciation for how humans perceive, predict, and recover from hazards and how their effects may be reduced. Breadth-Social Sci/Science.


Remote/Asynchronous instruction via Canvas as weekly readings and other online material.

In person exam at SFU Burnaby Campus (date/time TBD within scheduled exam session, August 6-16).

Largely via the motivating force of fear, natural hazards can mobilize massive numbers of individuals and resources in short periods of time. The 21st century response to natural hazards has been significantly impacted by globalization, disaster capital and the geospatial revolution. This course will explore the human-related effects of geophysical hazards including: earthquakes, slope instability, volcanism, tsunamis, severe weather events, floods, and sea-level rise, through a geographic lens. Discussion groups will evaluate local and extra-local examples of the hazards discussed from a 360 degree perspective culminating in perspectives on improved response and mitigation.

Prerequisite: One of GEOG 100, 104 or 111 or one of EASC 101 or 104. This course may be applied towards the Certificate of Liberal Arts.

Please note: This is a Summer Session course; student’s will cover a full semester’s worth of material in a compressed timeframe (approximately 6 weeks). Students should expect to assign 15 to 20 hours per week to the class to complete readings and assignments promptly.

Course structure:

Weekly Modules: course material will be delivered as weekly readings, videos and other interactive online material. Material will be released on Mondays or Tuesdays each week. Readings are expected to take around 5 hours per week.

Participation Exercises: small exercises embedded withing readings to encourage engagement with the material.

Module Assignments: Weekly assignments will be completed throughout the class through the CANVAS system. Assignments are designed to reinforce key learning objectives using concepts from the weekly modules. TAs assigned to the course will be available for consultation on assignments on weekly basis.

Geoscapes Project: A project that focuses on contemporary hazards and what can be learned from those hazards to reduce future risk. This project will be completed as a series of mini assignments throughout the course.

Final Exam: The final exam is a comprehensive, open-book exam covering material from the start to the end of the course. Exam will be in-person at SFU Burnaby Campus in the Summer exam season (date and time to be confirmed between August 6-16).

If students are unable to attend SFU at this time, they can arrange to sit the exam at a university, college or other institution near to them in Canada at the same date and time of the scheduled exam at SFU. This external exam will be at the student’s own expense (around $50-100). For a list of possible exam locations and costs, follow the links in this page:


Course Calendar

Week Commencing

Module Topic

Online Textbook Chapter

June 25

Catastrophe, Cascadia, and Carpe Diem


July 2



July 8

Volcanoes and Tsunamis


July 15

Landslides and Avalanches


July 22

Extreme Storms


July 29

Fire and Floods





August 6-16

In-person Exam (SFU Burnaby Campus)


TA Office Hours:
1 hour per week per TA. Online (Zoom link). Time TBD.
Note: TAs are available for assistance with assignments and exercises only. For course material and support, please discuss with the Instructor.


  • Participation Exercises: 5%
  • Module Assignments: 35%
  • Geoscapes Project: 20%
  • Final Exam: 40%


Grade boundaries:

A+: >90%             A: 85-89.5%        A-: 80-84.5%

B+: 77-79.5%      B: 73-76.5%         B-: 70-72.5%

C+: 67-69.5%      C: 63-66.5%         C-: 60-62.5%

D: 50-59.5%

Fail: < 50%

Late Submissions and Academic Dishonesty:
Students are responsible for submitting work to posted deadlines. Due to the compressed nature of the course, students are strongly advised to complete assignments promptly to maintain good progression through the material. Short extensions for reasonable requests may be provided if discussed at least 24 hours in advance with the course instructor. Unexcused submissions after the posted deadline will receive a 10% penalty per day, or part thereof.

Students are responsible for upholding a high standard of academic integrity for all course submissions. Examples of academic dishonesty include plagiarism, collusion, resubmission, fabrication of data, uploading or downloading from homework sharing websites, use of notes in a closed-book examination, use of AI/LLM-generated (e.g., ChatGPT) responses, etc. Any examples of academic dishonesty will receive penalties as per SFU policy and procedure S 10.01. This may include warnings, reductions in assignment marks and/or failure of the assignment. All academic integrity violations will be formally reported. For full information on SFU’s academic integrity policies and procedures, visit:



Readings in Natural Hazards – Open textbook available online for no fee:

Optional additional textbook - available in SFU Library:
Keller, DeVecchio and Clague. 2014. Natural Hazards: Earth's Processes as Hazards, Disasters and Catastrophes (3rd Edition). Toronto, Pearson.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.