A Trip Down Memory Lane

a trip down memory lane text overlaying cave art and an erupting volcano


Academic Team:
Thomas Giachietti (tgiachet@uoregon.edu
First-Year Experience Seminar Instructor
Roman Cole (roco@uoregon.edu)
FIG Assistant

9 credits
UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1 credit
CRN: 16070, T: 1:00pm-1:50pm, COL 44
ERTH 306 Volcanoes and Earthquake - 4 credits
CRN: 12054, MW: 12:00pm-1:50pm, MCK 240C 
ANTH 145 Principles of Archaeology - 4 credits
CRN: 10199, TR: 10:00am-11:20am, GSH 123, +DIS: CRN:10201, W: 10:00am-10:50am, CON 204
About the FIG:

Some of the earliest evidence of our ancestors is a set of footprints preserved in volcanic ash 3.7 million years ago. Since then, a few large volcanic eruptions have greatly impacted local populations (e.g., Pompeii) or have participated to the decline of whole civilizations (e.g., Santorini and the Minoans). As writing was invented only about 4,500 years ago, the story of these cataclysmic events and other problems posed by the natural environment came to us in the form of legends and stories. In a complimentary way, Earth Sciences enable us to read the story of our past by reconstructing volcanic and seismic events that shaped the habitats colonized by our species. In this FIG we will travel back in time through stones and see how scientific and literary study can be combined to investigate what we can learn about past natural disasters from the traces they leave buried both in the ground and in cultural memory.  


We will, for example, analyze how the graphical description of a volcanic eruption by a layman made about 2,000 years ago is still used as an accurate description of a type of major volcanic eruption that could affect one of our Cascade volcanoes. We will discuss how official reports about large waves destroying coastal cities in Japan in 1700 helped modern scientists put a date on the latest major Cascadia earthquake. We will discuss the many similarities between the disciplines of archeology and physical volcanology, especially related to field work.

Deep-Dive FIG: Please note this FIG contains an intermediate course at the 300-level. This course has been vetted by First Year Programs to ensure first-term students can achieve success. The instructor will be available to assist students along the way. 

ERTH 306 Volcanoes and Earthquake - CoreEd or major satisfying course

While most changes in the Earth occur very slowly, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in times we can comprehend, even rapidly. And they make continents, move plates, lift mountains, and reveal the great forces at work within the Earth. After a brief introduction to plate tectonics, this class will address how the Earth melts rock and makes volcanoes, why there is such a variety of volcanic type, and how volcanoes behave. Many examples are taken from the Pacific Northwest, which is one of Earth's great volcanic provinces. This is followed by examining how faults make earthquakes and mountains, and how earthquake waves shake the ground and allow us to image the interior of the Earth. Again, many examples are taken from the Pacific Northwest, where all the different types of faults are active and where some of the largest earthquakes on Earth occur. Class consists of 50 minutes of lecture, followed by 50 minutes of an interactive lab.

ANTH 145 Principles of Archaeology - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course is an introduction to the history of archaeology and its methods and theories. As we progress through the term, we will discuss how archaeology developed as a discipline and ways in which archaeological investigation is conducted and applied in the field. Students will become familiar with the modern methods that archaeologists use to locate, preserve, and manage cultural resources, theories that drive archaeological interpretation, and how studies of prehistory have enriched our understanding of humans through space and time.

Meet Your FIG Assistant and Instructor!