GEOL354-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Geodynamics and Geohazards

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


This inter-disciplinary course focuses on the dynamics of potentially hazardous geological events and the connections between geodynamics and societal risk.

This course focuses on the processes of geological hazards and how they impact on society. Some attention is given to techniques and strategies for hazard mitigation. Lectures on the tectonic evolution of New Zealand provide a framework for understanding contemporary earthquake, volcanic, and landslide hazards. Topics such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, liquefaction, and rockfall will all be addressed. Case studies revealing how natural and human environments were impacted by these hazards and how these hazards were successfully (or unsuccessfully) mitigated will be presented. Students taking this course will gain an understanding of the fundamentals of geological processes and impacts that will greatly benefit those wishing to do further tectonics and/or geohazards research.

Learning Outcomes

  • Goal of the Course:
  • Students will understand how geological hazards operate at the process level, and how geohazard behaviour over spatial and temporal time-scales influences how hazards are assessed and mitigated.

    Learning Outcomes:
    Students successfully completing this course will:
  • Understand how New Zealand’s tectonic evolution and modern tectonic setting influences the locations and magnitudes of contemporary earthquake, landslide, and volcanic hazards
  • Understand the fundamentals that govern geohazard behaviour in both time and space
  • Understand the links between hazards (e.g., seismically-triggered landslides, volcanically-triggered debris flows)
  • Know how to develop risk assessments from hazard behaviour
  • Understand the links between hazard behaviour and societal risk

    Summary of the Course Content - the topics coved by this course are:
  • Introduction to geohazards
  • Active tectonics of New Zealand
  • Earthquake science and paleoseismology
  • Geomorphic hazards
  • Landslides, rockfall, and rock fracturing
  • Flooding
  • Hazards of eruptions: lava flows, pyroclastic density currents, lahars, ash fall and volcanic gas
  • Risk assessment and mitigation of geological hazards
  • Risk and hazard communication
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 45 points at 200 level from GEOL.

Timetable Note

The expected student workload breakdown for GEOL354 is:

Contact time: 26 hours
• Lectures – 24 hours
• Tutorials – 2 hours

Independent work: 100 hours
• Lecture preparation and review – 50 hours
• Assignments – 25 hours
• Test and Exam Preparation – 25 hours

Self-guided learning (e.g. course content review; independent study) – 24 hours

Course Coordinator

Tim Stahl


Tom Robinson


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Assessment Report 1 25%
Assessment Report 2 25%
Final examination 50% Final examination

Textbooks / Resources

There are no required textbooks for this course; students will be directed to specific journal articles or books as necessary.

Course links

Library portal


Prerequisites: Any 45pts at 200-level from GEOL

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $951.00

International fee $4,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL354 Occurrences

  • GEOL354-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023