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Writing About Place: The Monterey Bay

Volcanoes (VACO) is a science CAA course where students learn about volcanoes and volcanic disasters such as Pompeii. This course is only offered at San Rafael and is offered at both sessions.

Course Description

From the CTY Summer Catalog:

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia propelled ash 50 miles into the atmosphere, triggered tsunamis 100 feet high, and was heard 2,200 miles away. The shock wave circled the earth seven times. The eruption not only reshaped the geography of the area, but also lowered average global temperatures by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit over the next year. In this course, students investigate the volcanoes that shape our planet, examining their geological history and environmental impact.

The course begins with a brief introduction to earth science, including geological layers, plate tectonics, and convection currents. Students then turn to the properties of volcanoes: lava composition, eruption types and their products, and resulting volcanic landforms. Laboratory exercises include magma flow tests, viscosity determination, and prediction of volcanic hazard. Students explore the essential role of volcanism in the evolution of the earth and the moderation of terrestrial climate. For instance, students may study the impact of India’s Deccan Traps on dinosaur extinctions, the continued growth of the Hawaiian Islands, or the geothermal power used by Iceland. They also examine the ways in which volcanoes have impacted human society from the devastation in Pompeii to the rich volcanic soil of Sicily. Additionally, students learn about extra-terrestrial volcanoes.

Through research, laboratory exercises, and field work, students leave the course with a greater understanding of the science behind the awesome power of volcanoes.

Lab & Field Trip Fee: $95