Volcanoes garner fascination and fear with students and the general population. In this module, students will examine real data, geodetic and other ways of monitoring for three different styles of volcanoes at Hawai'i, Mount St. Helens and Yellowstone in order to better forecast for volcanic eruptions and assess risks for surrounding communities based on different volcanic properties. This also includes students examining data from all stages of USGS alert levels from Normal to Warning. The impact of volcanic activity on surrounding communities is also considered along with ways that societal variables play a role in assessing risk for a given region.
Webinar about teaching this module: Teaching About Volcanoes with Monitoring Data and Communicating Risk
Strengths of the Module
- This module includes units that provide background readings and videos for students. Learning approaches include gallery walk, jigsaw, think-pair-share, and other small group work to foster an actively engaged student population. All materials can be modified to be used in a range of classroom sizes from small to large.
- The content of these activities includes elements of three different volcano types--stratovolcano (Unit 1), shield (Unit 2), and caldera-style (Unit 3)--and their respective different eruptive products and hazards.
- These activities involve developing quantitative analysis skills through authentic volcano monitoring (e.g., GPS, Tilt, LiDAR, InSAR, Seismic) and societal data (all units), graph and map interpretations (all units), and mean recurrence intervals (Units 3 & 4).
- There are elements of real-world and societal applications in which students are asked to consider how infrastructure would be impacted (Units 1 & 4), reactions to volcanic activity through the lens of Native populations (Unit 2), how to communicate risk to non-scientists (Units 3 & 4), and how poverty and corruption may impact risk to a region (Unit 4).
- Overall students learn about different volcano types and volcano terminology through experience with the societal impacts, rather than just memorizing facts.
Great fit for introductory- and majors-level classes in:
- Introductory Geology courses (for majors and non-majors)
- Volcanology (for non-majors and for majors)
- Geologic and Natural Hazards courses (lower division and upper division)
Table of Contents
- Instructor Materials: Overview of the Monitoring Volcanoes and Communicating Risks Module
- Unit 1: Monitoring Volcanic Activity at Mount St. Helens
- Unit 2: Kilauea Hawai'i - Monday Morning Meeting at the USGS Hawai'i Volcano Observatory
- Unit 3: Yellowstone is active, but is it erupting?
- Unit 4: Comparing risks at different volcanoes
- Student Materials
- Instructor Stories
- Join the Community