The cause and impact of Earth Hazards

Suite of resources for teaching Year 11/12 Earth & Environmental Science and Geography


This webpage brings together a range of resources that will assist Year 11/12 classes studying natural hazards. Some resources are introductory and also suitable for use with younger students but others are more technical such as talks by Geoscience Australia scientists. For the first time we have developed 'crib sheets' for some videos to help teachers to access up-to-date Australian information about hazard assessment and risk. In addition we introduce a new activity where students think like emergency managers and make decisions for community safety near an active volcano.

These resources are particularly aimed at ACT schools who are unable to attend Geoscience Australia's annual 'Hazards and Disasters Day' but they are relevant to teachers across the country.

New resources


Volcanic hazards. What would an emergency manager do?

Students learn to think like Emergency Managers by analysing a regional map and considering potential impacts of a volcanic eruption. The activity is paired with a PowerPoint introduction to volcanic hazards including notes about each slide.


Teacher guides to scientific talks about hazards

‘Crib sheets’ that summarise talks and provide easy access links to each part of the videos. Topics covered are tsunamis in Australia, seismic hazard in Australia and social vulnerability to disasters like floods.

Understanding hazards and risk


Community Safety

Webpages featuring information about most types of natural hazard.

Risk and Impact

Webpage that explains natural hazard risk plus the role of Geoscience Australia.

Ensuring Australia's community safety

Storymap that provides an overview of community safety activities by Geoscience Australia and introductions to a range of hazard types.

Natural Hazards in Australia - Identifying Risk Analysis Requirements (2012)

This report provides an overview of the rapid onset natural hazards in Australia, including tropical cyclone, flood, severe storm, bushfire, landslide, earthquake and tsunami. Risk analysis is explained.

Plate tectonics

Introduction to plate tectonics

This video introduces the concept of tectonic plates making use of a tectonic plates puzzle. (4:55).

Tectonic plates jigsaw puzzle

Solve the puzzle of plate tectonics with this world map that shows the edges of the major tectonic plates.

Plate tectonics cut-out on a tennis ball

Create a tectonics plate model using this easy to print A4 model. This colour model is ready to cut out and assemble on a tennis ball.

Topography of Australia and Surrounding Region

The height of the land and features of the sea floor including deep trenches.


Earthquakes - Teacher notes and student activities

A comprehensive booklet exploring earthquakes. Includes Australian case students and student activities – one of which is ‘Epicentre Hunt’.


Website showing recent earthquakes analysed by the National Earthquake Alerts Centre. Link to the catalogue of historic events.

Historic Earthquakes of Australia

Storymap with information about significant earthquake activity and events in Australia to 2016.

Earthquakes happen in Australia but are we prepared?

Article by GA staff considering the 2018 revised National Seismic Hazard Assessment and implications for emergency management.


Spaghetti quakes

Investigate earthquake magnitude using spaghetti pasta.

Australian Earthquakes 2016

Downloadable poster showing earthquakes during one year and across ten years, in Australia. Suitable for analysing earthquake distribution patterns in Australia.

Large Australian Earthquakes 1964-2017

Poster showing earthquakes in Australia greater than magnitude 4.5 over the course of 55 years. It is interesting to compare the spatial distribution with the annual distribution of events of all sizes.

How the world's largest earthquake made waves in Australia

Feature story describing the largest recorded earthquake that happened off Chile in 1960 and sent a tsunami across the Pacific Ocean that was recorded in Australia.

30 years on – Commemorating the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake

Feature story about the Newcastle earthquake – one of the most significant natural disasters in Australia's history.

Heritage buildings and earthquake risk in cities

ABC article featuring Dr Mark Leonard talking about earthquakes in Australia and how heritage buildings are most at risk in our capital cities.

2016 Mw6.0 Petermann Ranges earthquake

38 minute talk about the little known, but significantly large, Petermann Ranges event and how it was analysed. Dr Dan Clark.


Tsunami - Teacher Notes and Student Activities

A comprehensive booklet exploring tsunami. Includes Australian case studies and student activities.

Tsunami: The Ultimate Guide

Comprehensive multimedia set of information about tsunamis, their impacts in Australia, warning systems and preparation for tsunami. Recommended. Scroll down the page to see the resource.

Tsunami generation animations

Three animations demonstrating the main causes of tsunami generation – earthquakes, landslides and volcanic eruptions.

Ten Years On: 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

Feature story looking back on the events of 2004 and the catastrophic Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Reflections from Sendai: lessons for Australia

Article by GA's Jane Sexton about the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake.



Volcanoes - Teacher notes and student activities

A comprehensive booklet exploring volcanoes. Includes Australian case students and the student activities include an eruption role play.


See how they run

Explore the concept of lava viscosity and influence on volcanic cone shape.

Shield volcano 3D cut-out model

An A4 paper model, ready to cut out and assemble into a 3D shield volcano.

Strato volcano 3D cut-out model

An A4 paper model, ready to cut out and assemble into a 3D strato volcano.


Landslides - Teacher Notes and Student Activities

A comprehensive booklet exploring landslides. Includes Australian case studies and student activities.


Water Observations from Space

Water Observations from Space (WOfS) uses satellite imagery to understand water in the landscape and can help with flood mapping.


Digital Earth Australia (DEA) Hotspots

Satellite imagery is used to monitor bushfire hotspots and provide timely information to emergency service managers.


Wind: ABC Catalyst video

Program advised by GA's Mark Edwards that investigates wind hazard including tornadoes in Australia (18 minutes).

Tropical Cyclone Hazard Assessment 2018 (Australia)

Explore the maps for different cyclone recurrence intervals and potential extent of cyclone impacts in Australia (ArcGIS).

External/other resources

Stop Disasters!

Sim game in which the player prepares a community for five potential disaster types. Published by the UN and International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 outlines seven clear targets and four priorities for action to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks.

IRIS Station monitor: did the ground move near me

This site provides access to seismometer recordings from around the worlds. The IRIS site contains extensive teaching resources about earthquakes.

Earth Learning Idea: Natural hazards activities

Extensive list of inquiry activities with explanations for teachers.

Earth Science Western Australia: EES resources

Suggested programs for the WA version of the Earth and Environmental Science Australian Curriculum course designed by Earth Science Western Australia in consultation with teachers.

Teaching Resources pages from the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience

Variety of Australian teaching resources for all ages based around natural hazards (includes ‘Tsunami the ultimate guide’).