Natural Hazards and Catastrophes (Geol 108)—Syllabus and Schedule

Lab: In addition to our regularly scheduled labs, one all-day Saturday field trip is planned to Mount St. Helens on Saturday May 13th. This fieldtrip is a mandatory part of the course. If you cannot attend, then you will be expected to do a self-fun trip of equivalent time plus the field  report.

(See fieldtrip details and policy below)

Course description and Course overview
Required books and course materials
Grading policy
About exams
Field trip
Student learning objective and outcomes
Attendance and student success
Inclement weather/campus closure
My cell phone and computer use policy
Miscellaneous information


Instructor: Pat Pringle

E-Mail: ppringle ‘at’

Phone: 360.736.9391   x550

Please do not call my office number unless you plan to leave a message if you don’t reach me!

Centralia Earth Sciences web:

             Class schedule:

Section: 3363 GEOL 108A4 (5) 11-11:50am MTWTh WSC 211 Pringle
                                                     1-2:50pm              Wednesday WSC 105 Pringle

Section  3363 GEOL 108B4 (5) 11-11:50am MTWTh WSC 211 Pringle
                                                          3-4:50pm            Wednesday WSC 105 Pringle

Office hours: in WSC 318F  See my class and office hours schedule


Course short description: An examination of earth materials and processes through the study of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, climate change, and meteorite impacts. Examination of causes, effects on human populations and the environment;  preparedness, prediction and forecasting; mitigation of risks, and case studies.

Natural Hazards class outcomes and course outline  (leaves this page)

Course Materials: The text below is required reading and is the primary sources of information for lectures, discussions, and exams.  Please bring your books to class and do reading in advance of class.

Course Logistics: This class will use CANVAS for nearly all communications and submission of assignments.

Natural Disasters, by Patrick Abbott (9th edition recommended ISBN 978-0-07-336937-2, but an older version >5th edition would allow you to “get by”)

Class web page: I will refer you to this page occasionally, although we will mainly communicate via CANVAS.         Publisher’s web page 


Link to an online Physical Geography textbook by Michael Ritter    Steve Earle's 2015 online Physical Geology text (open access)  

Link to the introductory Geoscience Virtual Textbook

            Annenberg “Earth Revealed” series online videos: see Student Resources videos link in main Centralia Earth Science page

GRADING POLICY  Your final grade for Geology 101 is based on the total number of points you accumulate from the following sources (values approximate):

LECTURE and FINAL EXAMS (probably 3–5 total)                                                      65%


GRADE ASSESSMENT: see grading scale to find out the point and letter grade equivalents for percentage scores on tests. The assessment will also include a student’s contributions to the learning environment in the classroom; likewise, disciplinary problems that interrupt or impede the progress of the class will also be evaluated as part of this component. If you need to talk with me about your grade, please do not do this before, during, or after class. Please make an appointment with me or visit during my office hours, which are posted on the door of my office and on the “class links” web page.

ABOUT EXAMS Tests will include material from lectures, readings, videos, and labs.  If you miss a test or know you will miss a test, you must contact me the same day with an explanation. There will be no make-up tests except for in extreme cases.  You will need a physicians note, proof of sickness, and/or provide me with advance notice of a schedule conflict if such a situation arises.
Do your own work
.  Suspected cheating, intellectual parasitism, plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.  Additionally, instances of such will be reported to the Centralia College administration for disciplinary action.


The college communicates with students only via their official Centralia College student email. Students are required to get their email address at 

Information for this course is posted on Canvas. Occasionally I may also refer you to other web pages where I store or link to resources. The Canvas page is a work in progress and will change as we go through the class. Look there for this syllabus, copies of selected class handouts, links, reading suggestions, assignments, and additional information.


This quarter the mandatory field trip probably will be on Saturday May 13th. This fieldtrip and the subsequent field report accountø for ~1/2 of the lab grade in this class. You are required to attend and write up field report for the trip. NOTE, ALL FINAL FIELD WRITE UPS ARE DUE by third Monday after trip. Please schedule your other classwork accordingly. The following site will be updated when details become available: Fieldtrip details


Late assignments: For you own sake, hand in assignments on time. Assignments turned in late will not get full credit. Information regarding class assignments will be provided during the term.  Assignments must be turned in at the beginning of the class period on the due-date for full credit.

All multipage assignments that are unstapled and/or have untrimmed perforation “frizzies” or tears along page edges will be automatically docked one point.

Handwritten assignments:  You will be expected to provide a review of each video shown in class or of the presentations of any guest speakers. I will provide a video review form on the web page. For video reviews and essays on quizzes, please write neatly, and use pencil or blue or black ink only.  Unreadable assignments will be returned for no credit. If possible, please type assignments. Please staple all assignments and write you name on each page as noted above.

Typed assignments: ALL FIELD REPORTS WILL BE TYPED. Please follow guidelines given for each typed assignment.  This generally includes 10 or 12 point font, preferably Times or Arial, margins 1–1.25 inches, black ink, white, unbleached or reused paper, with no report covers. USE LEFT JUSTIFIED ONLY.

Evaluation of written assignments and essay questions: I will use grading guidelines such as this rubric in order to evaluate the quality of any written assignments and essay questions. A great way to get a better grade is to look at the guidelines shown in the rubrics for assessing good writing and then make sure your written products “measure up”.

Quizzes:  I will provide computerized forms for some quizzes.  Bring a #2 pencil with good eraser.  Be sure to thoroughly erase all mistakes and stray pencil marks during the quiz.  No corrections will be made for you, nor will any be made after quizzes are graded and returned

Term assignment: There may be a Term Assignment required.  Information regarding the assignment will be provided in another handout.  Term                     Assignments must be turned in at the beginning of the class period on the due-date assigned for full credit.


We have two lab modes: in the classroom and field trips. During the field trips and in the lab you will be given problems to solve. These lab assignments will be graded on a point basis. The point value of each lab will be indicated.

For field trips, you need to bring some footwear that does not have slick soles and rain gear or an umbrella. Your feet may get very wet from the wet grass, so you may want to have a change of shoes for after the trip. You should bring something to write on and write with on the trips.


The overall goals of the exercises, content, and learning objectives of this class follow Centralia College’s general education learning themes and distribution outcomes —Note particularly those for the Natural Sciences and quantitative skills.


I take attendance during the first week or so of class; if you don't show up the first day, you may be dropped to give your place to someone on the waiting list.  While attendance is not required, skipping classes won’t help you become a successful student. In fact, ALL class members benefit from fellow students’ consistent attendance and thoughtful questions and comments. Those who make a habit of skipping classes typically struggle to bring home the good grades. 

This is a demanding course with a lot of material covered in a short period of time.  Regular class attendance, taking good notes, and studying outside of class are essential to ensure adequate mastery of the material.  If, due to credit load, work schedule, family requirements or health reasons, you will be unable to attend regularly, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS!  From time to time, pop quizzes will be given at the beginning of class, so please be on time—if you are absent for a pop quiz, you will miss the quiz.

I want you to do well in this class!  Forming a study group and quizzing one another on class material can be very helpful.  I will be available during my office hours if you have questions or concerns.  If, however, you should get into academic difficulty, know that it is your responsibility to keep track of drop dates and other deadlines.

SICKNESS If you are sick, please do not come to class, but let me know as soon as possible by CANVAS or telephone (360-736-9391 x550). If you miss a lecture because of sickness, please inform me immediately.  Plan to get notes or special instructions from one of your classmates if you can.  Do not rely exclusively on lecture outlines that may be posted on the web page because the cadence of each class differs. If you miss a test and do not have a medical excuse or do not inform me in advance, then you will not be allowed to take that test.

If Centralia College is closed or opening is delayed owing to bad weather, notification will be placed on the CC campus closure web site, voice mail message, and local radio stations.  I commute from Olympia, so if just our class is cancelled, I will leave a message on my office voice mail, hopefully by 8am.  Look for an announcement on our class web page in Canvas.

MY CELLULAR PHONE AND COMPUTER USE POLICY  No cell phone use in class. Please make all cell phone calls and do all text messaging outside the classroom. If you are dealing with a family or personal issue and must receive a cell phone call, please put the phone on vibrate and then quietly leave the classroom when you get the call—YOU MY RETURN TO CLASS THE NEXT DAY. Students using computers to take notes in class must sit in the back row of class unless that row is entirely occupied by other computer users. If you are discovered to be using the computer to play games, send messages, or other non-class you will first be asked to stop. The second time, you will be asked to leave. The third time I will arrange a meeting with the Dean of Instruction or Vice President of Student Affairs to discuss the issue.


Please be courteous and respectful to your classmates as well as your instructor and avoid activities disruptive to the learning environment. 

I have little tolerance for side conversations during lecture class!  Even if you whisper, even if you sit in the back, even during a video, talking bothers other people in class. 

Be punctual.  If you must arrive late or leave early, let me know in advance and sit near the door.   

Please turn your cell phone off! Making calls & text messaging during class time is rude and distracting and will count as negative class participation points.

Many people, including me, have chemical sensitivities, so please refrain from wearing excessive perfume, cologne, or hairspray. Also, please cough into your elbow or use a handkerchief if you sneeze. I suggest thoroughly washing your hands regularly to help to minimize your risk of getting sick.

Do your own work.  Suspected cheating, intellectual parasitism, plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated.  Additionally, instances of such will be reported to the Centralia College administration for disciplinary action. Discussing topics and homework questions with others is fine; copying answers is self-defeating behavior. Do not feel pressured if someone asks to copy your homework or write up. The answer is a polite "no".

NOTE: If a student is disruptive to the learning environment, they will be given a verbal warning. Further disruptions of the class will be followed by a written warning, and the offending student or students will likely be asked to leave. Students who continue to be disruptive in class will referred to Vice President of Academic Affairs



Special Needs Statement

Students with disabilities may contact the Director, Center for Disability Services to determine their eligibility for reasonable accommodation.  The director's office is located with the Counseling Center in the Student Services Building.


Copyright Notice

Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection under Title 17 of the United States Code.


Equal Opportunity Statement

It is the policy of Centralia College to assure equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, age (over 40), religion, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran.


Centralia College does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. Designated Title II, VI, VII, IX, Section 504, ADA compliance officer: Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs, Hanson Hall Room 101, Centralia College, 600 Centralia College Blvd, Centralia WA 98531-4099, 360.736.9391, extension 285.


Extended Absence

Should a contagious illness, such as the H1N1 virus, necessitate an extended absence from class, please contact your instructor as soon as possible to make arrangements to complete, if possible, the coursework you miss.

Reviewed By:                                                    


Revised April 9, /2017