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Geophysical Hazards

This MSc provides a broad introduction to geohazards, together with advanced courses in seismology, volcanology, hydrogeological hazards and meteorology.

Every year, natural disasters affect one in thirty people on Earth. Whether developing or industrialised, all nations are at risk, and the field of natural hazards is today one of the fastest growing areas of research in the Earth and Climate Sciences. The MSc programme in Geophysical Hazards will provide essential training for careers in hazard assessment and risk evaluation, including: Industry, from engineering to insurance Academic research Civil protection agencies Government organisations and NGOs related to aid and development. Full Details

Geophysical Hazards MSc

Prospectus:
Geophysical hazards MSc

Further Enquiries:
Dr Christopher Kilburn

How to apply

Programme Topics

The MSc Programme introduces the spectrum of geophysical hazards and their impact, before focusing on quantitative models for hazard forecasting and assessment. Selected case studies will illustrate how the models are essential for improving decision making during emergencies, for raising the awareness of vulnerable populations, and for evaluating and implementing mitigation strategies, from evacuation to engineering solutions. Among the Programme's topics are:

  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanic Eruptions
  • Floods
  • Storms and Hurricanes
  • Landslides
  • Tsunami
  • Hazard Monitoring, Forecasting and Mitigation

The Programme consists of six months of taught courses and up to six months of independent research leading to a Master's dissertation. There will be excellent opportunities for optional field investigations in the UK and abroad. Subject to fieldwork constraints, the programme is suitable for students with disabilities. The Programme may be completed full-time in one calendar year, or part-time in two years. Lectures will be given by UCL staff from the Departments of Earth Sciences and of Space and Climate Physics. Guest lectures will also be delivered by practitioners from Industry.

Modules & fieldworks:

Foundation

GEOL0048 Geological and Geotechnical Hazards
Earth and atmospheric processes; Geological hazards; Earthquakes; Volcanic eruptions; Landslides; Tsunami.

GEOL0049 Meteorological Hazards
Hurricanes and tempests; Storms; Tornadoes; Floods; Space weather; Climate change

GEOL0051 Research Methods
This module introduces key concepts in quantitative data evaluation and presentation.

Advanced

GEOL0054 Earthquake Seismology and Earthquake Hazard 
Earthquake mechanics and energy; Earthquake statistics and prediction; Fracture mechanics; Seismic waves and rays; Case studies.

GEOL0052 Physical Volcanology and Volcanic Hazard 
Dynamics of explosive eruptions; Dynamics of effusive eruptions; Monitoring techniques; Forecasting eruptions; Case studies.

GEOL0053 Meteorological, Climate and Hydrogeological Hazard 
Forecasting storms and hurricanes; Floods and groundwater dynamics; Forecasting floods; Landslide dynamics; Forecasting slope failure; Case studies.

Fieldwork

Each year, we aim to hold a short field-trip to locations that illustrate the impact of natural hazards. Previous trips have included:

  • Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Landslides, based in the Neapolitan Volcanic District.
  • Landslides and Floods, based in the Italian Alps and the Po Delta.
Research

GEOL0056 MSc Independent Research Project
This module develops research skills in designing, implementing and presenting the results from an independent research project. Previous topics have included:

  • Validating Risk Evaluation Methods for Tropical Storms.
  • Long-Period Seismicity as a Precursor to Volcanic Eruptions.
  • The Control of Earth's Orbital Dynamics on Caldera-forming Eruptions.
  • Forecasting the Runout of Giant Landslides.
  • Evaluating Flood Risk Procedures in the United Kingdom.
  • The Perception of Natural Hazards among Communities in the Caribbean.
  • Modelling Changes in Crustal Stress before Tectonic Earthquakes.

What will I learn?

The programme introduces the spectrum and impact of geophysical hazards, before focusing on quantitative models for hazard forecasting and assessment. Selected case studies illustrate how the models are essential for improving decision making during emergencies, for raising the awareness of vulnerable populations, and for evaluating and implementing mitigation strategies.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The Department of Earth Sciences at UCL is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and planets.

Graduate students benefit from our lively and welcoming environment and world-class facilities. The department hosts the UCL Hazard Research Centre, Europe's leading multidisciplinary hazard research centre, and engages in extensive collaborative work with the Royal Institution and the Natural History Museum.

This MSc aims to include a short field-trip to locations that illustrate the impact of natural hazards. Previous trips have included the Neapolitan Volcanic District, the Italian Alps and the Po Delta.

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