Title Earthquakes
Description Lecture, three hours; laboratory, one hour; one field day. Causes and effects of earthquakes. Plate motion, frictional faulting, earthquake instability, wave propagation, earthquake damage, and other social effects. Hazard reduction through earthquake forecasting and earthquake-resistant design. P/NP or letter grading.
Units 5 units
Course Days Tuesday Thursday
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Location Humanities A51
Level Undergraduate
Course ID 178048200
Type Lecture
Class Website http://pangea.earthandspace.ucla.edu/Ess008/2012/
Instructor Gilles Peltzer
Email peltzer@epss.ucla.edu
Phone 310-206-2156
Office Hours Tuesday, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. or by appt.
Teaching Assistant Deborah Weiser
Email dweiser@ucla.edu



To understand what earthquakes are, why and where they occur, and their consequences. To learn about some processes associated with earthquakes, including plate tectonics, volcanoes, tsunamis, and landslides. To be able to understand articles about important earthquakes in the newspapers or popular science press and to make informed decisions about matters related to earthquakes in your own life.

Recommended Background

Earthquakes cannot be studied and understood without some concepts from mathematics and physics. There will be a few equations and the computer exercises are somewhat quantitative, so you need some algebra and geometry from high school. At least one quarter of physics or math at UCLA would be very helpful. Metric system units will be used.

Course content:

The lectures will cover in a different order topics presented in the book: Earthquakes, by Bruce Bolt, 5th edition, Freeman 2006. The book will be supplemented in class and discussion sections by videos, computer exercises, newspaper articles, and additional information on recent earthquakes. The course includes a 1-day, optional (but highly recommended) field trip to visit places along the San Andreas Fault system where effects of recent deformation and movement can be observed.


The class will not be graded on a curve, but on your level of mastery of the material. The grade will be based 30% on weekly homework/computer exercises, 30% on the midterm, and 40% on the final exam. The final exam is scheduled on Tuesday June 12, 2012 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. No makeup exams will be allowed. The field trip report will be graded and used as extra credit.