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Environmental Geology: An Earth Systems Science Approach

Textbook

By: Dorothy J Merritts (Author), Kirsten Menking (Author), Andrew De Wet (Author)

500 pages, colour photos, illustrations, maps, tables

W.H. Freeman & Co. Ltd

Paperback | Jun 2014 | Edition: 2 | #213215 | ISBN-13: 9781429237437
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £78.99 $101/€94 approx

About this book

Emphasizing the interconnected nature of environmental geology and the multidimensional processes of the Earth, this highly anticipated new edition of Merritt's classic text provides a balanced approach to environmental issues and builds an informed student understanding with case studies, conceptual explanations, and relevant presentation of material. By far the most concise book for its course, it remains the only textbook to use an earth systems approach to exploring how the Earth works, the human impact on the environment, and the characteristics of different natural hazards.

New to this edition:
Up-to-Date Case Studies Throughout
Featured in every chapter, cases enrich student's understanding of how environmental events affect the news and their lives—and how scientists study those events to make us better prepared for the future.

New! Earth Science and Public Policy Boxes
This feature looks at instances where research on Earth system processes was instrumental in formulating public policy or law to deal with a variety of environmental problems. Topics include:
- Californias Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act, which aims to minimize earthquake damage through stringent development requirements
- Bans by most state legislatures of detergent phosphates to protect aquatic ecosystems
- Ordinances enacted by southwestern U.S. cities to conserve dwindling water supplies

Earth Science and Public Policy also addresses the role of special interests and the news media in disseminating misinformation about global climate change.

New! Emerging Research Boxes
Here the authors profile recent and often on-going research projects addressing unresolved issues in environmental geology. Examples include:
- The San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth an instrumented borehole drilled into the Parkfield section of the fault to study the conditions required for and the characteristics of slip
- Studies of the amount of methane released from melting permafrost as a result of global warming of the Arctic
- Our evolving understanding of the Hawaiian hotspot, which apparently migrates over time, rather than staying fixed (as was assumed in the first edition of this book).

New! Chapter 15. Humans and the Whole Earth System
This revealing new chapter is part of the book's overall expanded emphasis on human impact and sustainability.

A Significantly Enhanced Art Program
The new edition features vividly rendered and carefully labeled diagrams of structures and processes, selected tables and graphs, maps, and impressive photographs.


Contents

Part I Introduction
1. Dynamic Earth Systems
Earth System Science
The Concept of Systems
Earth's Environmental Systems
Earth's Energy Systems
Population, Resources, Pollution, Hazards, and Planetary Boundaries


Part II: Solid Earth Systems and Geologic Time
2. Plate Tectonics: Solid Earth in Motion
An Early Conundrum and the Scientific Method
Plate Properties and Motions
Piecing the Theory Together
The Driver of Plate Tectonics

3. Earthquakes: Their Causes, Hazards, and Risks
The Build-up and Release of Seismic Energy
Assessing Earthquake Hazards
Minimizing the Risks from Earthquakes

4. Earth Materials: Elements, Minerals, and Rocks
Minerals: Building blocks of the lithosphere
Rocks and the Rock Cycle
Rock and Mineral Resources

5. Volcanoes
Volcanic Eruptions
Volcanic Hazards
Minimizing the Risks from Volcanic Eruptions

6. Geologic Time
Scales of Time and Earth System Cycles
Measuring Time: Relative and Absolute Age Dating
Fossils, Evolution, and Relative Geologic Time
Global Change over Different Scales of Time

Part III Earth's Surface Systems
7. The Biosphere
Biosphere Structure and Functioning
Ecosystem Services
Water Purification
Human Impacts on the Biosphere

8. Soil and Weathering Systems
The Pedosphere: A Geomembrane to Other Earth Systems
Biological Processes and their Role in Weathering
Pedosphere Resources: Soils, Clays, and Mineral Ores
Soil Erosion Hazards, Land Degradation, and Soil Conservation
Soil Erosion: A Quiet Crisis
Mass Movement Hazards and Their Mitigation


Part IV Fluid Earth Systems
9. Earth
The Hydrologic Cycle
Drainage Basins and Streams
Floods
Altered Streams
Wetlands
Managing and Restoring Streams and Wetlands
Water Resources and Protection
Droughts

10. The Groundwater System
Water in the Ground
Groundwater As a Resource
Groundwater Hazards
Groundwater Pollution and Its Cleanup

11. The Atmospheric System
The Atmosphere: An Envelope of Gases
Atmospheric Circulation and Climate
Storms
Severe Weather
Tropical Storms and Hurricanes
Human Influence on Atmospheric Chemistry
Air Pollution and Environmental Management

12. The Ocean and Coastal System
The Ocean Basins
Coastlines
Sea Level Changes
Seawater Chemistry
Ocean Structure and Circulation
Circulation in the Surface Mixed Layer
Circulation in the Deep Ocean
Coastal Processes and Hazards of Living by the Sea
Coastal Erosion and Attempts to Control It
Controlling Cliff Erosion
Human Impacts on the Seas
Waste Disposal and Polluted Runoff Along Continental Shelves


Part V Energy, Changing Earth, and Human-Earth Interactions
13. Energy
Energy and Humans
Earth's Energy System
Petroleum: Crude Oil and Natural Gas
Renewable Energy: Solar, Wind, And Hydroelectric
The "New Energy Era": Green Buildings and the Road Taken

14. Understanding Climatic and Environmental Change
Climate on Terrestrial Planets
Causes of Climatic Change
Influence of Plate Tectonics on Climate
Indicators of Environmental Change
Global Climate Models

15. Humans and the Whole Earth System: Living in the Anthropocene
Planetary Boundaries
Anthropogenic Climate Change
Impacts of Rising Greenhouse Gas Concentrations
Sea Level Rise
Coming to Grips with the Anthropocene


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Biography

Dorothy Merritts is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Franklin Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. In the western United States, she conducted research on the San Andreas Fault of coastal California, and her international work focuses on fault movements in South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, and Costa Rica. She is an author or co-author on more than 70 scientific articles, and the editor and contributing writer for numerous scientific books and field guides.

Kirsten Menking is an environmental Earth scientist in the Department of Earth Science and Geography at Vassar College, USA. Her current research involves quantifying the amount of road salt entering the groundwater system, a topic of concern both for people dependent on well water and for aquatic ecosystems.

Andrew de Wet is a classically trained geologist specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing, and their application to environmental problems on Earth and geological processes on Mars. He teaches environmental geology, GIS and Natural Resources, and an interdisciplinary course on comparative planetology with a focus on Mars. He has published articles on geological pedagogy in the Journal of Geological Education and on shared faculty positions in the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and Geotimes. He is a member of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. He is involved in a long-standing collaboration with researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and publishes on environmental issues and planetary geology.

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