Cluster 4: California Hazards: Earthquakes and Climate Change

California Hazards: Earthquakes and Climate Change

Active faults at the boundary between major tectonic plates run through California and present significant earthquake hazards. Drought and rising sea-level associated with climate change also threaten California. This cluster will explore the basic principles of earthquake and climate change science and examine the specific challenges they pose to California. This cluster emphasizes active-hands-on group learning to explore why earthquakes occur, how we can determine earthquake hazards, know global climate change is occurring, and understand its effects on California and the world. Students are expected to engage in activities in the classroom, the lab, and outside learning environments.

Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra I

Preference: Completion of Algebra II and Introductory Physics

All students in this cluster will be enrolled in the following courses:

Active faults at the boundary between major tectonic plates run through California and present significant earthquake hazards. Drought and rising sea-level associated with climate change also threaten California. This cluster will explore the basic principles of earthquake and climate change science and examine the specific challenges they pose to California. This cluster emphasizes active-hands-on group learning to explore why earthquakes occur, how we can determine earthquake hazards, know global climate change is occurring, and understand its effects on California and the world. Students are expected to engage in activities in the classroom, the lab, and outside learning environments.

Prerequisite: Completion of Algebra I

Preference: Completion of Algebra II and Introductory Physics

California is Earthquake Country

Instructor: Susan Schwartz, Ph.D., Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences UCSC

Living in California means living with earthquakes. We will learn why, where, and how earthquakes occur, what controls the size of earthquakes, what an earthquake fault looks like and how it moves, if humans can cause earthquakes, how houses and other structures hold up in earthquakes and how they can be designed to withstand the strong shaking accompanying earthquakes. Students will learn some basic computer programming so that they can download and analyze seismic data from recent earthquakes of interest.

California and Climate Change

Instructors:  Susan Kelly, PhD candidate

Knowing more about the science behind our changing climate is crucial as both scientists and citizens if we hope to address one of the greatest challenges we face.  In this class, we will learn about the fundamentals of climate science from an Earth Systems perspective. Changes to the carbon budget over geologic time will help us put the most recent changes to the carbon cycle in perspective, as we use data-driven activities and hands on experiences to investigate issues that impact California.  Topics include sea level rise, drought and water availability, wildfire and impact to food production systems. Students may also address issues related to energy, sustainability, potential mitigation strategies, and personal responsibility through group and individual project work.