Penn State - Earthquake Seismology

Charles J. Ammon - EARTH 101

Department of Geosciences
440 Deike Building
University Park, PA 16870
Voice: (814) 865-2310 / FAX: (814) 863-7823

Charlie and his dad

EARTH 101 - Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs Reality

Earth 101 is taught each semester to about 150 non-science students. Kevin Furlong teaches it in the Fall, I teach it in Spring. We use both good videos (NOVA, etc.) and bad (Hollywood stuff) to focus student discussions and activities on science and scientific issues related to natural disasters. Our main objective is to help the students understand the important role of science in modern societies and appreciate modern and historical interactions between humans with natural disasters.

Each class usually starts with a brief 20-30 minute lecture describing some aspect of natural hazards, followed by some video excerpts and analysis. We incorporate active learning as often as possible. The most commonly covered disasters are earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, extraterrestrial impacts, floods, & severe weather. We explore these phenomena using brief excerpts from the movies Earthquake, Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, A View To A Kill, 10.5, Dante's Peak, Volcano, Tidal Wave: No Escape, Dinosaur, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, and A Perfect Storm.

To watch a local news piece on the course (which aired on January 23, 2005) click on one of these links: lower resolution (~2mb) | higher resolution (~ 5mb).

Penn State Earthquake Seismology

Ammon's Home
Department of Geosciences

Last Updated:April 16, 2005