The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the spring of 79 AD is perhaps the best known volcanic eruption in history, and it continues to fascinate us, even almost 2,000 years later. More than 30 movies and documentaries have been made about the dramatic eruption, from the “Last Days of Pompeii” produced in 1913 to the blockbuster “Pompeii” that hit theaters 100 years later in 2014. Pliny the Younger was present during the eruption, writing one of the first in-person accounts of this type of disaster, and many terms that are used in the modern science of volcanology stem from his riveting description of the event. Even beyond the geology of Vesuvius, however, the sudden destruction of Pompeii and the nearby port city of Herculaneum preserved ancient Roman civilization at a moment in time. Abandoned after the eruption, and rediscovered by French archaeologists in the 17th and 18th centuries, Pompeii and Herculaneum continue to provide new insights into daily life in a still thriving Roman Empire. In this class, we will discuss the geology of Vesuvius, the events of April 79 AD, and the subsequent uncovering the preserved ruins that continues to today.