Isabelle SacramentoGrilo created a new study abroad course GEOL 303, to be offered Summer 2017!


Description of course: This 3-unit faculty-lead Study Abroad course will be offered by SDSU and is titled Natural Disasters – Abroad. A small group of students will go to the volcanic Azores islands and continental Portugal as part of their study abroad experience and/or requirement, with participation of the University of Açores and University of Lisboa.  This course is based on geological hazards in the world that dramatically affect life on Earth, with emphasis on Portugal tectonic hazards, particularly earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes, and landslides/coastal erosion. I have been teaching this course at SDSU for the past 14 years and now as a summer abroad course. Students will gain knowledge of the geologic reasons and tectonic settings that produce natural disasters in the north Atlantic Azores islands and the Iberian Peninsula, and will subsequently be able to apply their new-found scientific skills into real field situations. They will identify types of rocks, types of volcanoes, earthquake and tsunami damage and recurrence, landslide deposits, and the like. They will learn ways to mitigate the ill effects of these disasters. Beyond this academic perspective, they will also get to know the Azores and continental Portuguese culture and some of its language, thereby appreciating the real impact that these natural hazards have on people’s lives here. Students are still expected to be prepared to actively participate in all course activities, meet demanding deadlines, and value learning about different cultural perspectives. Students will be enriched with these experiences: bringing the science and the people together, and in one of the most beautiful places in the world, indeed a historical heritage site. Azores is particularly appreciated for its natural volcanic beauty and its historical and geological significance.

In this course, I also give pertinent examples as case studies in the world where natural disasters were devastating, and this is something that always interests students. Lisbon, in particular, is the site of the famous 1755 earthquake and tsunami that demolished it and changed the way humanity looks at science, as its impact was wide-ranging and lasting in Europe.

Structure of course: This course, which students have made popular at SDSU, fulfills the SDSU General Education requirement IV EXPLORATIONS – Natural Sciences. This is a GE course option for all majors and would count as a Study Abroad requirement to those students who have that requirement in their major. It will correspond to the length of the SDSU first summer session. Proposed excursions will allow students to see the outcome of the geological principles that they’ve just learnt in the classroom. It will easily satisfy 45 contact hours. Roughly half of this summer session will be in the Azores islands and half will be in continental Portugal. This class will be like a lecture + lab, likely lectures in mornings and excursions in afternoon. They learn first the science of natural disasters, and then apply what they learnt to the world and the people outside.

Contact Isabelle for more information