G 208 : Volcanoes and Their Activity

Covers the origin, activity, products, classification, and hazards of volcanoes.

Volcanoes and Their Activity (G208) is a one-term introductory course in volcanology, which is a branch of the science of geology. The student will develop an understanding of the types, origin, activity, products, and hazards of volcanoes. This course can be used to partly fulfill graduation requirements for the Associate Degree, and has been approved for block transfer. The text and materials have been chosen by the faculty and the emphasis of the course will be the viewpoint of the author(s). This includes the geologic time scale and the evolution of the Earth.


Equivalent placement test scores also accepted. MTH 58 or MTH 65 accepted.

Course Outcomes

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Use an understanding of rock and mineral characterization and classification to infer the igneous processes which formed individual rock and mineral specimens.
  • Analyze the development, scope, and limitations of plate tectonics, and utilize plate tectonics to explain the Earth’s volcanic activity, and the relationship of this activity to climate change, agriculture, and formation of economic deposits.
  • Access volcano science information from a variety of sources, evaluate the quality of this information, and compare this information with current models of volcanic processes, identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  • Make field and laboratory-based observations and measurements of volcanic rocks and minerals and/or volcanic landforms, use scientific reasoning to interpret these observations and measurements, and compare the results with current models of volcanic processes identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  • Use scientifically valid modes of inquiry, individually and collaboratively, to critically evaluate the hazards and risks posed by volcanoes both to themselves and society as a whole, evaluate the efficacy of possible ethically robust responses to these risks, and effectively communicate the results of this analysis to their peers.
  • Assess the contributions of volcanology to our evolving understanding of global change and sustainability while placing the development of volcanology in its historical and cultural context.

Additional Information

This course fulfills the following GE requirements: Science, Math, Computer Science/AAOT, Science, Math, Computer Science/AS, Science, Math, Computer Science/AAS, Science, Math, Computer Science/AGS.

Evolution Statement

Regarding the teaching of basic geologic principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution), the Portland Community College Geology Department stands by the following statements about what is science.

Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. A scientific theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.

“Creation science,” also known as scientific creationism, is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F.2d 1004).

Geology instructors at Portland Community College will teach the generally accepted basic geologic principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution) not as absolute truth, but as the most widely accepted explanation for our observations of the world around us. Instructors will not teach that “creation science” is anything other than pseudoscience.

Because "creation science", "scientific creationism", and "intelligent design" are essentially religious doctrines that are at odds with open scientific inquiry, the Geology/General Sciences SAC at Portland Community College stands with such organizations such as the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geological Institute in excluding these doctrines from our science curriculum.

Course Adoption Date

Course Revision Date





Grading Options

Letter Grades


Audit Available