2023-2024 / GEOG2050-1

Natural risks


24h Th, 2d FW

Number of credits

 Master in geography : general (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Master in geography, global change (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Master in urban planning and territorial development (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Hans-Balder Havenith, Geoffrey Houbrechts, Aurelia Hubert


Aurelia Hubert

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The courses is divided in two: 

  • Part I focuses  on landslide and volcanic risk  (10h Th) with Prof. A. Hubert-Ferrari
  • Part II focuses on seismic risk  (10h Th) with Prof. A. Demoulin
Part I:
* Risk- Hazard-Vulnerability: Risk study and dangerous evnts (definition and characteristics), history of dangerous events, magnitude-frequency relation, Introduction to Risk: Elements-at-risk, Vulnerability, Hazard

Part II:

  • A few basic definitions in mechanics
  • The seismic process: stick-slip mechanism, rupture propagation, seismic cycle, strong earthquakes and aseismic fault creep as end members of a continuum
  • Measuring earthquakes: seismic waves, magnitude and macroseismic intensity, focal mechanism
  • Effects of earthquakes: on-fault, direct (including site effects), indirect (landslides, liquefaction, city burning)
  • Seismic hazard assessment: basics of paleoseismology, hazard modelling, attenuation, PGA maps
  • The seismicity of Belgium and NW Europe
Part III:

  •  Volcanic Hazard: Generality (risk/hazard, active volcano, frequency, eruption duration, size, impact, cost), basic knowledge about volcanoes and eruptions (structure, relief, why volcanics eruption occur ?, origine of volcanism, lava, magma, volatile), direct volcanic risk around active volcano, indirect volcanic risk, prediction methods and goals of the evaluation of volcanic risk and hazard
  • Landslide Hazard with in chapter 1: mouvement de masse subaérien (definition, type of mass movements, geometry, distribution, mapping, dynamics of mass movement, factors controling mass movements, monotoring), chapter 2 : Landslide hazard (impact, risk analysis components, Landslide susceptibility analysis)

Part IV:

  • Overview of different types of flooding
  • Spatial variation of extreme rainfall amounts. Intensity duration frequency curves.
  • Flash floods in Wallonia and Western Europe. Parameters favouring runoff and techniques for protection against this type of flooding. 
  • Extreme hydrological phenomena. The link with climate change and anthropic pressures. 
  • Mapping of flooded areas. 
  • Field days related to flood risk

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

- Notion on the mechanics of landslide and volcanic eruptions and knowledge use for understanting scientific publications and for a summarized oral presentation 

- Understanding of landslide and volcanic risk/hazard through courses and personal work

- Understanding hazard, risk and vulnerability through the course and the different oral presentation of the students.

- Understanding of the seismic process and its various expressions on Earth, mastering the understanding of a given earthquake through personal work

- Bibliographic synthesis with written and oral personal work, SIG work

- Capability for geomorphological mapping of flood zones at the local scale.

- Capacity to analyse field data and geomorphological interpretation, to write a synthesis report based on field data and to make an oral presentation of the results.

- Understanding of the mechanisms and factors that can promote and aggravate floods.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Part I : Cours (existing podcasts)

Part II: Recorded courses to listen;

In-person course about on case study earthquake feed-back about recorded course 
Personal work on an earthquake case study: written report

Partie III: podcast recorded; in- person course providing feed-back on the podcast.

Personal work based on publication and a case study with oral presentation

Partie IV : In class course en presentiel and fleld survey (2 days)

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Blended learning

Recommended or required readings

Part I: podcast

Part II:

required: lecture notes and PowerPoint files provided on MyULiège

Part IV:

PowerPoint files provided on MyULiège

Written work / report

Other : oral presentation

Additional information:

Part I to III:  

  • One written report on Part II (Earthquake Risk)- 20 %
  • Two oral presentation on Part III- 2x 20% 
Part II:

  • A written report on the topic of flood zone mapping (20%) and an oral presentation (in groups of 2-3) on a topic related to flooding in different climatic contexts (20%) 

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course


Part I to III: Aurélia Hubert-Ferrari; aurelia.ferrari@uliege.be

Part IV : Geoffrey Houbrechts - G.Houbrechts@uliege.be 

Association of one or more MOOCs

Items online

PDF Cours Introduction Concepts
PDF Cours Introduction Concepts

PDF Cours Risque sismique et vidéos
PDF Cours Risque sismique et vidéos

Cours Risques Naturels Partim 1
3 partim