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Hazards & Disasters

Resources, activities, links & videos for the IB Geography; Hazards & disasters unit. Revision pages in the store soon.

IB Geography hazards unit, volcano peak

Characteristics of Hazards

Characteristics & spatial distribution of: Volcanoes; Hurricanes; Droughts; Oil Spills (Deepwater Horizon)

"Distinguish between the chosen hazards in terms of their spatial extent, predictability, frequency, magnitude, duration, speed of onset and effects."

IB Geography, hazard characteristics

* By the end of unit 1 you should have 4 case studies


Hazard: A threat (whether natural or human) that has the potential to cause loss of life, injury, property damage, socio-economic disruption or environmental degradation.


IB Geography, Volcano locations

IB Geography volcanoes worksheetVolcano characteristics outline sheet

IB Geography Montserrat Case study Montserrat Case Study outline sheet


Case Study: Soufriere Hills volcano, Montserrat.

  • Location:
  • Dates of main events:
  • Damage/effects:
  • Duration (how long has it been erupting for):
  • Magnitude: there have been several explosions with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of up to 3
  • Success of prediction:


Timeline of events & photos

Montserrat (BBC)

Volcano refuses to cool (Guardian 1999)

Prediction difficulty (Telegraph 2008)

In your groups:

  • Use the slideshows & the given links to produce a less than 5 minute presentation of the Case Study.
  • Divide up the sections between your group members to involve everybody & to speed it up.
  • You may use other sites but dont spend too long researching at the expense of completing the work

    IB Geography case study

    Interactive map showing impact of 2011 East African drought (Guardian 2011)


    IB Geography case study

    IB Geography Oil spill worksheet Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill characteristics outline sheet


    Chernobyl (National Geographic)


    Fill in the table below to compare/summarise the key characteristics

    Explain whether you think there is a relationship between the frequency and magnitude of a hazard event.

    Write a paragraph to compare the effectiveness of predicting any 2 of the above hazards.

    Hazard Event: the occurrence (realization) of a hazard, the effects of which change demographic, economic and/or environmental conditions.

    Vulnerability: the susceptibility of a community to a hazard or to the impacts of a hazard event.


    IB Geography volcano crater


    Risk: The probability of a hazard event causing harmful consequences(expected losses in terms of deaths, injuries, property damage, economy and environment).

    2014 10 Riskiest Cities in the World

    Make notes about the different methods of predicting erruptions.

    Predicting Montserrat eruptions

    Predicting Hurricanes

    BBC article (May 2011): Can earthquakes be predicted

    Disaster: A major hazard event that causes widespread disruption to a community or region that the affected community is unable to deal with adequately without outside help.

    How have the intensity and impact of disaster events changed over space and time?

    Look at the pictures & follow the links. Answer/discuss the subsequent questions:

    Disaster occurance frequency


    Changes in disaster numbers

    1) Describe the trends in disaster frequency (total disasters & types of disasters)

    2) Offer explanations as to why you think there are increasing numbers of disasters & why specific ones are increasing. (You should consider issues such as: increasing populations, urban areas, climate change, agricultural practises & deforestation).

    Disaster Risk Reduction

    Disaster Risk Management Asia

    3) How can the risks of disasters be reduced?

    4) Follow this link (UN disaster risk reduction) & explain what you think the statement means:

    "There is no such thing as a 'natural' disaster, only natural hazards."


    Responses to the risk of hazard events.

    Preparing for hurricanes - before the event

    The importance of insurance


    Explain why having appropriate insurance cover is so important in high risk areas. Why do so many people not have it? Why cannot you not leave it unitl the last minute to get insurance cover?

    Haiti & Chile earthquake comparison in terms of magnitude & effects

    Read this article (the week). Make notes about the magnitude & effects of the 2 earthqaukes. Explain the importance of wealth, regulation and preperation in reducing the risk of a natural hazard becoming a disaster.

    The importance of aid in disaster reduction.

    Look at this infographic - describe the main pattern of the aid donations. Explain why interntional aid can be so vital in reducing the occurance of natural disasters.


    Article: Pakistan still unprepared for natural disasters (Guardian 2012)

    Prepare Immediate Reconstruction

    Nuclear Accident Preparartion

    IB Geography volcanic crater lake
    IB Geography revision guides link