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Describe what they are, how are they obtained, and what impacts does obtaining them have on human and environmental health.

Writing Assignment Instructions

The objective of these assignments is for you to explore how geological factors impact society and how we in turn affect the environment around us.  You will be investigating the environmental geology of Los Angeles, and will be writing a complete report, split into three separate assignments.  In the first paper, you will describe the geological setting of Los Angeles. In the second paper, you will discuss natural hazards that have affected the area or that could potentially impact the area in the future.  In the last paper, you will assess the use (and/or abuse) of resources (water, mineral, energy).

Paper 1 Instructions

Minimum Length: 400 words (about ½ -3/4 page)

Briefly introduce the city and describe the geologic setting of the area.  You should write it in standard essay format, but the questions below should guide the content of the paper:

  1. Where in the world is Los Angeles? Any particularly interesting facts/features in a geological/geographical sense – not sports/nightlife/tourism/etc.
  2. What is the tectonic setting? What plate is it on? What are the two closest plate boundaries?
  3. What is the topography in the area? (Is it flat, mountainous, hilly, etc.)
  4. What waterbodies are in the area? (e.g. oceans, rivers, lakes)
  5. What is the geologic setting of the area? How did the area form (it’s actually very complicated –keep it simple and don’t get hung up on the details)? What kind of rocks are around (don’t need to be too specific, but at least narrow down to sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic and how they formed in a general sense)?


Paper 2 Instructions

Minimum Length: 800 words (~2.5pg)

The objective of this paper is to conduct a risk assessment of geologic hazards that may pose a risk to Los Angeles. Include the following 3 sections (use the bold section headings below):

  1. Geologic Hazards in Los Angeles. What types of geological hazards is the city most at risk of? For all of the hazards we have discussed (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods, coastal erosion, and coastal storms), provide a brief discussion of whether they are a concern in LA and why/why not.
    1. Indicate which hazards pose the greatest threat.
    2. If any hazards are not a problem, indicate why not.
    3. Note: DO NOT INCLUDE Fires/wildfires, tornadoes, wind, or resource-related issues (the last of these will go in Part 3).


  1. Historic Disasters. Have there been significant geological disasters in the area in the past (historic or pre-historic)?
    1. Describe at least three major past geologic disasters. Include at a minimum:
      1. the geology associated with the disaster (e.g. what kind of volcano, what kind of eruption, what kind of fault, what kind of flooding, etc.)
      2. the impact on people/society (deaths, damage, etc.).


  1. What is being done to manage the hazards in Los Angeles? What else could be done (if anything)?


Paper 3 Instructions

Minimum Length: 700 words (~2pgs). 

The third paper addresses the use, potential use, and/or abuse of resources in the area.  The sections for this paper:

  1. What are the source(s) of water for the area? Is the use sustainable? Are there issues with water scarcity? Are the water sources used the best option in your opinion? Why or why not? What are other potential options besides the primary sources?


  1. Are there water quality issues (or were there in the past)? (This is for any of the water sources). If so, what are the contaminants, why are they present, and what are the human/environmental risks associated with them.


  1. Where does LA get its energy? Why? What are the pros/cons of these sources? Thinking long-term, can you recommend changes to the energy resources plan? (If you have trouble finding LA-specific information, you can discuss California as a whole).


  1. Are there major sources of mineral resources in the region? Describe what they are, how are they obtained, and what impacts does obtaining them have on human and environmental health.


  1. Are there energy resources in the SoCal region? If so, what are they, why are they there, how are they obtained, and what impacts does obtaining them have on human and environmental health?


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