Old Announcements - Look here  for announcements concerning this course

 

 

Previous Semeseter's Announcemets

October 12 , 2010 - The midterm exam has been graded and was passed back in class this morning.  To see the distribution of scores and other comments on the exam click HERE.

December 13 , 2010 - Final Exam scores and course grades have been posted on Blackboard (My Tulane).   You should be able to access the Blackboard site for whichever section of the course you are enrolled in and see your score and grade from there.  Let me know if there are any problems with Blackboard.

If you want to see your final exam or have any questions about your scores or grades, please feel free to send me an email to make an appointment to come by my office, Room 208 Blessey Hall.   I will be around most of the time next week, but if you send an email or call before coming to my office, I will be sure to be there at the arranged time.

Here are some general comments on the exam (you will note that many of these are the same as I posted for the last time this course was taught and available on this site until well past the midterm, and many are also the same as the comments I posted for the midterm exam on Oct. 12, above).

  • Some general advice - when a professor explicitly tells you that certain questions are going to be on an exam, it is alway in your best interest to believe that professor and take actions so that you do not miss those questions when they actually do show up on the exam.
  • It is absolutely amazing that 16% of you still think that the levee breaches that occurred in New Orleans during the Katrina event, all happened the day after Katrina made landfall.  This is absolutley false.   All levee breaches occurred on the same day that Katrina made landfall (August 29, 2005)
     
  • Magmas DO NOT come from the liquid outer core of the earth, but nearly 20% of you still think so (didn't we settle this on the midterm exam?).
     
  • The last time I checked, the letter C was still the third letter in the Alphabet.  I'm also pretty sure that it was the third letter in the alphabet (not the fifth letter) when Hurricane Camille came ashore back in 1969. Apparenlty 22% of you still don't know your alphabet.

  • Each increase in 1 in earthquake magnitude represents a 30 fold increase in energy released, NOT a 10 fold increase as 20% of you still think. 

  • Although large earthquakes in China and floods in Bangladesh usually result in a large number of casualties, an impact with a large space object (> 1 km) would result in many more casualties and is thus the worst possible disaster we discussed in the course.

  • There is NO SUCH THING as an instrument called the Richter Scale (18% of you still think so) .

  • Although increasing amounts of Carbon Dioxide is the greenhouse gas that is causing global warning, Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

  • Finally, short term prediction of earthquakes is still not possible - thus, earthquake warning systems are not yet possible.


Life or Death

Three of you died during a hurricane when you wrongly opened the doors and windows in you house thinking that it would equalize pressure.

Six of you died when you didn't evacuate from your beach house when a Category 5 hurricane hit.

Three of you died when you didn't go to an inner room on the first floor of your house when the tornado struck.

Three of your died when you were struck by lightning while running into an open field to avoid the lightning.

Have a nice holiday break!

 

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Announcements - Look here  for announcements concerning this course

December 14, 2013

Final exams have been graded and scores and final grades have been posted to Blackboard. If you want to see your final exam or have any questions about your scores or grades, please feel free to come by my office, Room 208 Blessey Hall, or you can send e-mail.  It is probably best to make an appointment, as I am in and out of my office now that the semester is over.

What truly is amazing is that many of the comments below are the same comments I posted after the previous semester's final exam and have been posted on this site during the entire semester. 

Here are some general comments on the exam:

Two primary goals that I have in this course are to provide information that will help save your lives and to bust myths people have about historic events or the way things operate. 

  • Some general advice - when a professor explicitly tells you that certain questions are going to be on an exam, it is always in your best interest to believe that professor and take actions so that you do not miss those questions when they actually do show up on the exam.
  • 10 people (18.9% of the class) still think that the levee breaches that occurred in New Orleans during the Katrina event all happened the day after Katrina made landfall.  This is absolutely false.   All levee breaches occurred on the same day that Katrina made landfall (August 29, 2005).  I am still puzzling over how I can get this myth out of people's heads. 

  • 24 people in the class (45%) still think that New Orleans flooded because the Mississippi River Levees failed.  All levees that failed in New Orleans were on human made navigation and drainage canals.  Did we go to any breaches on the Mississippi River on our field trip?
     
  • 3 class members still think that magmas come from the liquid outer core of the Earth.  THEY DO NOT!   Will someone please tell me how I can convince an entire class that magmas don't come from the core?
     
  • Many of you still think that the amount of damage that an earthquake causes depends on the time of day.  The amount of casualties certainly does, but the damage will be the same no matter when the earthquake occurs.

  • Although large earthquakes in China and floods in Bangladesh usually result in a large number of casualties, an impact with a large space object (> 1 km) could potentially kill everyone, and thus is the worst possible disaster we discussed in the course.

  • Although Carbon Dioxide gas is the greenhouse gas that is causing global warning, water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

  • New Orleans does not have anywhere near a 40% chance of getting hit by a Category 5 hurricane in any given year. 

  • The best evidence that global warming is occurring is that average global temperatures have increased over the last 150 years.  The evidence does not come from metling ice or the amount of Carbon Dioxidein the atmosphere. The evidence comes from measuring temperatures and cannot be disputed.

  • The best way to determine what type of behavior a volcano will have in its next eruption is by its past behavior as determined by the study of deposits produced by previous eruptions. (An answer to a question that was word for word from the midterm exam).


Life or Death Questions

Several questions on the final exam were designed to see if you learned some valuable life or death lessons.  The results are discouraging.

  • 11 people died from the plinian volcanic eruption because they failed to realize that the most dangerous aspect of such an eruption is pyroclastic flows not the falling ash.

  • 4 people died from the tsunami by doing something other than running up the hill when they felt an earthquake on the Oregon beach.

  • 6 people died in the desert because they thought that flash floods are not common in the desert, but one of the common desert flash floods caught them unprepared.

  • 2 people died from the Category 4 Hurricane as their beach house, where they went for refuge, was destroyed by the storm surge from the hurricane.

  • 6 deaths resulted from opening windows in the house during a hurricane under the false assumption that it would relieve pressure, but instead resulted in furniture crashing into their heads.

  • 4 of you died from getting struck by lighting by running out in an open field to protect yourself from lightning.
     
  • 2 people died in a tornado for failing to go into an interior room on the first floor of the house. 

  • 10 people died in a tropical cyclone (hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone) because they thought that the wind was the most deadly aspect of such storms and failed to consider the storm surge.

Some people died more than once, but I did not keep track of those statistics.  Hopefully those of you who potentially died in these situations will read about your errors here before reality strikes. 

 

October 16, 2013 - I have graded the midterm exam and will pass it back in class on Thursday 10/17).  To see some general comments on the exam and to see how you did in relation to the rest of the class, click HERE.

 

December 14, 2012

Below are annoucements I posted after the final and midterm exams in this course the last time I offered the course in the Fall of 2012.   

What truly is amazing is that many of the comments below are the same comments I posted after the previous semester's final exam and have been posted on this site during the entire semester. 

If you want to see your final exam or have any questions about your scores or grades, please feel free to come by my office, Room 208 Blessey Hall, or you can send e-mail. 

Here are some general comments on the exam:

Two primary goals that I have in this course is to provide information that will help save your lives and to bust myths people have about historic events or the way things operate. 

  • Some general advice - when a professor explicitly tells you that certain questions are going to be on an exam, it is always in your best interest to believe that professor and take actions so that you do not miss those questions when they actually do show up on the exam.
  • 3 people still think that the levee breaches that occurred in New Orleans during the Katrina event all happened the day after Katrina made landfall.  This is absolutely false.   All levee breaches occurred on the same day that Katrina made landfall (August 29, 2005)

  • 13% of the class still thinks that New Orleans flooded because the Mississippi River Levees failed.  All levees that failed in New Orleans were on human made navigation and drainage canals. 
     
  • 10% of the class still think that magmas come from the liquid outer core of the Earth.  THEY DO NOT!
     
  • 27% of the class needs to go back to kindergarten and learn your alphabet. The last time I checked, the letter I was still the ninth letter in the alphabet.  Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are always named alphabetically, thus Isaac was the ninth storm of this Hurricane season, not the 5th.

  • Many of you still think that the amount of damage that an earthquake causes depends on the time of day.  The amount of casualties certainly does, but the damage will be the same no matter when the earthquake occurs.

  • Although large earthquakes in China and floods in Bangladesh usually result in a large number of casualties, an impact with a large space object (> 1 km) would result in many more casualties and is thus the worst possible disaster we discussed in the course.

  • Although Carbon Dioxide gas is the greenhouse gas that is causing global warning, water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

  • New Orleans does not have anywhere near a 40% chance of getting hit by a Category 5 hurricane in any given year. 

  • The best evidence that global warming is occurring is that average global temperatures have increased over the last 150 years. 

  • Earthquakes cannot be predicted.  Thus, there are currently no precursor events that would enable a warning for an earthquake as 4 of you still believe.


Life or Death Questions

Several questions on the final exam were designed to see if you learned some valuable life or death lessons.

  • There were no deaths from tsunami, wherein a person did something other than run up the hill when they saw the ocean retreat way off the coast. Thankfully you all survived the tsunami.

  • Only 1 death from the Category 4 Hurricane that resulted from staying in the beach house when the storm came ashore.

  • No deaths resulted from opening windows in the house during a hurricane under the false assumption that it would relieve pressure, but instead resulted in furniture crashing into heads.

  • 6 of you died from getting struck by lighting by running out in an open field to protect yourself from lightning.
     
  • 1 person died in a tornado for failing to go into an interior room on the first floor of the house. 

Hopefully those of you who potentially died in these situations will read about your errors here before reality strikes. 

October 24, 2012 - I have graded the midterm exam and will pass it back in class on Thursday.  To see some general comments on the exam and to see how you did in relation to the rest of the class, click HERE.

 

December 16, 2014

Final exams have been graded and scores and final grades have been posted to Blackboard. If you want to see your final exam or have any questions about your scores or grades, please feel free to come by my office, Room 208 Blessey Hall, or you can send e-mail.  It is probably best to make an appointment, as I am in and out of my office now that the semester is over.

Have a great Holiday Break!

What truly is amazing is that many of the comments below are the same comments I posted after the previous semester's final exam and have been posted on this site during the entire semester. 

Here are some general comments on the exam:

Two primary goals that I have in this course are to provide information that will help save your lives and to bust myths people have about historic events or the way things operate. 

  • Some general advice - when a professor explicitly tells you that certain questions are going to be on an exam, it is always in your best interest to believe that professor and take actions so that you do not miss those questions when they actually do show up on the exam.
  • 7 people (20% of the class) still think that the levee breaches that occurred in New Orleans during the Katrina event all happened the day after Katrina made landfall.  This is absolutely false.   All levee breaches occurred on the same day that Katrina made landfall (August 29, 2005).  I am still puzzling over how I can get this myth out of people's heads. 

  • 12 people in the class( 34%) still think that New Orleans flooded because the Mississippi River Levees failed.  All levees that failed in New Orleans were on human made navigation and drainage canals.  Did we go to any breaches on the Mississippi River on our field trip?
     
  • 2 class members still think that magmas come from the liquid outer core of the Earth.  THEY DO NOT!   Will someone please tell me how I can convince an entire class that magmas don't come from the core?
     
  • Many of you still think that the amount of damage that an earthquake causes depends on the time of day.  The amount of casualties certainly does, but the damage will be the same no matter when the earthquake occurs. This exact question was on the midterm.

  • Although large earthquakes in China and floods in Bangladesh usually result in a large number of casualties, an impact with a large space object (> 1 km) could potentially kill everyone, and thus is the worst possible disaster we discussed in the course.

  • 34% of the class thinks that the eruption of cinder cone in a large city would be the worst possible volcanic disaster. Cinder cones are small.  What about eruptions from volcanoes like Yellowstone or Long Valley? 

  • Although Carbon Dioxide gas is the greenhouse gas that is causing global warning, water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

  • New Orleans does not have anywhere near a 40% chance of getting hit by a Category 5 hurricane in any given year.  Yes, it has a 40% chance of getting hit by a tropical storm or hurricane, but CAT 5 storms are very rare.

  • The best evidence that global warming is occurring is that average global temperatures have increased over the last 150 years.  The evidence does not come from metling ice or the amount of Carbon Dioxidein the atmosphere. The evidence comes from measuring temperatures and cannot be disputed.

  • The best way to determine what type of behavior a volcano will have in its next eruption is by its past behavior as determined by the study of deposits produced by previous eruptions. (An answer to a question that was word for word from the midterm exam).

  • 9 class members need to go back to kindergarten and relearn the alphabet. The letter I, as in Isaac, is not the 5th letter of the alphabet, it is the 9th, and thus Isaac could was the 9th tropical storm or hurricane of 2012.


Life or Death Questions

Several questions on the final exam were designed to see if you learned some valuable life or death lessons.  The results are discouraging.

  • 9 people died from the plinian volcanic eruption because they failed to realize that the most dangerous aspect of such an eruption is pyroclastic flows not the falling ash.

  • 2 people died from the tsunami by doing something other than running up the hill when they felt an earthquake on the California beach.

  • 5 people died in the desert because they thought that flash floods are not common in the desert, but one of the common desert flash floods caught them unprepared.

  • 4 people died from the Category 4 Hurricane as their beach house, where they went for refuge, was destroyed by the storm surge from the hurricane.

  • 3 deaths resulted from opening windows in the house during a hurricane under the false assumption that it would relieve pressure, but instead resulted in furniture crashing into their heads.

  • 1 of you died from getting struck by lighting by running out in an open field to protect yourself from lightning.
     
  • 1 person died in a tornado for failing to go into an interior room on the first floor of the house. 

  • 6 people died in a tropical cyclone (hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone) because they thought that the wind was the most deadly aspect of such storms and failed to consider the storm surge.

Some people died more than once, but I did not keep track of those statistics.  Hopefully those of you who potentially died in these situations will read about your errors here before reality strikes. 

October 15, 2014

 

The midterm exam has been graded and will passed back in class on Thursday (10/16).  To see the distribution of scores on the exam and some general comments, click HERE.

 

October 11, 2015

I have graded the midterm exam and will pass it back in class tomorrow (Monday, 10/12).   To see the results and some comments on the exam, click HERE.

December 10, 2015

Final Exam scores and course grades have been posted on Blackboard (My Tulane).  

If you want to see your final exam or have any questions about your scores or grades, please feel free to send me an email to make an appointment to come by my office, Room 208 Blessey Hall.  

 

Here are some general comments on the exam (you will note that many of these are the same as I posted for the last time this course was taught and available on this site in the announcement for August 23.

  • Some general advice - when a professor explicitly tells you that certain questions are going to be on an exam, it is alway in your best interest to believe that professor and take actions so that you do not miss those questions when they actually do show up on the exam. 
     
  • Magmas DO NOT come from the liquid outer core of the earth, but there are still 3 people in the course who think that they do (didn't we settle this on the midterm exam?). 
     
  • The last time I checked, the letter I was still the ninth letter in the Alphabet.  I'm also pretty sure that it was the third letter in the alphabet (not the fifth letter) when HurricaneIsaac came ashore back in 2012. Apparenlty 33% of you still don't know your alphabet or you just can't get it in minds that hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin are named alphabetically every year,

  • Each increase in 1 in earthquake magnitude represents a 30 fold increase in energy released, NOT a 10 fold increase as 15% of you still think.  

  • Although large earthquakes in China and floods in Bangladesh usually result in a large number of casualties, an impact with a large space object (> 1 km) would result in many more casualties and is thus the worst possible disaster we discussed in the course.

  • Although a cinder cone erupting in a major city might be a very bad disaster, it is certainly not the worst possible volcanic disaster.  Think about supervolcano eruptions.  The one that did occur in 70,000 years ago is estimated to have wiped out most of the human population in existence at the time.

  • 33% of you still think that anywhere there are faults therer are likely to earthquakes.  While it is true that if thefaults that have been active in human history, then there are likely to be earthquakes, there are millions of ancient faults that will never produce an earthquake again. 
      
  • Four people still think that it was the Mississippi River levees that failed during Hurricane Katrina.  The fact is that the only levees that failed were on human made navigation and drainage canals. 

  • The volcano that produced the largest eruption in the last million years was Yellowstone.  Many of you (50% fo the course) were thinking in terms of human history and had only recent eruptions (Mount St Helens, Vesuvius, Pelee, etc.) as an answer to this question.


Life or Death

Only one of you died during a hurricane when you wrongly opened the doors and windows in you house thinking that it would equalize pressure.

Only 1 died died when you didn't evacuate from your beach house when a Category 5 hurricane hit.

Three of you died in the desert when you saw that it was raining but failed to realize that flash floods are very common in deserts during and after rainstorms.

 

Six of you died in a pyroclastic flow produced by a Plinian eruption when you failed to realize that pyroclastic flows are the most dangerous aspsects of Plinian eruptions. People in Pompeii and Herculaneum did not know about this phenomonon so they may be excused.  But after having taking this class, six of you should have known better.

Four of you died when you were struck by lightning while running into an open field to avoid the lightning.

 

Four of you died in the tsunami when you did something other than climb the hill near the beach. 

I died of a heart attack 5 times when 5 of you told me that New Orleans has a 40% chance each year of getting hit by a Category 5 hurricane.  While we may have a 40% chance each year of getting hit by a named storm, thankfully we don't have a high percentage chance of getting hit by a Category 5 storm (only 3 Category 5 storms have ever made landfall in the U.S.)

 

 

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