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Combining geophysics and earth history in Cyprus sets the stage for fall Freshmen Seminar

Cyprus: the Volcanic Sequence. A fault cutting sheet flows and hyaloclastites. The thick sheet flow to the left of the fault is apparently the same flow as one of the thin flows to he right of the fault, which demonstrates that faulting was occurring at the same time as lavas were erupting. A late low-angle intrusive sheet clearly cuts across the outcrop and probably the fault. Photo by Frederik J Simons, caption by Edwards et al. (2010), p. 81.


Assistant Professors Frederik Simons and Adam Maloof successfully returned from their trip to Cyprus where they went on a scouting expedition to prepare for their upcoming Freshman Seminar 171. The trip lasted from June 9 through June 15. The seminar’s title "Earth's Environments & Ancient Civilizations” betrays its mission: to find locations that will engage students to examine the interplay between active tectonic landscapes, changing climate, and ancient civilizations. Their scheduled seminar will also challenge students to combined field observations of the natural world with mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science in order to answer questions like: Why are mountains high? Why are some landscapes wetter, drier, smoother, or more jagged than others? How does environmental change alter the course of civilization, and how do civilizations modify their environment? This particular seminar will assist students in gaining practical experience in collecting geological and geophysical data in a geographic context, in order to bring the data back to the department for more extensive analysis. A highlight will feature the usage of software and programming languages such as ArcGIS and Matlab. Appearing is one of the many locations that the professors and and students will visit as part of the trip's itinerary this fall. Another portion of the trip will be spent on the site of Princeton's archaeological excavations at Polis Chryschous, where the students will conduct near-surface geophysical investigations to help reveal the area's rich buried past.