ENVR E-139. Natural Disasters in a Global Environment

This course covers disasters including volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, fires, landslides, hurricanes, famines, pandemic diseases, meteorite impacts, and hurricanes. The course presents basic science, along with detailed case studies of past and present events. Lectures and discussions highlight the role of science in studying natural disasters and describe the mechanisms responsible for these phenomena. The course traces the transition of our understanding of disasters from religious and superstitious explanations to contemporary scientific accounts. Elements of history, engineering, architecture, sociology, land use planning, climate change science, public policy, and emergency management are threaded through the discussions and laboratory exercises.


Jennifer Cole







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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2017-2018 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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