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Physical Geography: Great Systems and Global Environments


By: William M Marsh(Author), Martin M Kaufman(Author)

650 pages, 900 colour illustrations, 15 maps, 20 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Aug 2012 | #194138 | ISBN-13: 9780521764285
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £69.99 $90 / €80 approx

About this book

The physical geography of Earth is explained through the systems that shape the planet's lands, waters, and atmosphere. Written in an easy narrative style, each chapter combines text with more than 40 single-concept illustrations. The result is a distinctive design that weaves words and illustrations together into an integrated whole. The presentation is uncluttered to keep students focused on the main themes. An entire chapter is dedicated to climate change, its geographic origins, likely outcomes, and influence on other Earth systems. A distinctive illustration program includes summary diagrams at the end of chapters that recap concepts and reinforce the systems approach. Section summaries within chapters, along with end-of-chapter review points and questions, are provided to highlight key concepts and encourage thoughtful review of the material. The instructor's guidebook highlights the core concepts in each chapter and suggests strategies to advance a systems approach in teaching physical geography.

Please note that the publisher has cancelled plans for a paperback version.

"Marsh and Kaufman eloquently link the science of physical geography with the impacts of human activities. As such this text is a perfect tool for encouraging students to become environmentally-informed citizens."
- Dean P. Lambert, San Antonio College

"At last, a textbook that successfully merges a graphic storyline with the text to describe the interconnectedness of Earth's great physical systems. The authors do a masterful job using this approach to explain the geographic character of the planet. This textbook will be understandable to both science and non-science majors."
- Richard Crooker, Kutztown University

"Authoritative, useful, balanced, and wise, this is more than a textbook. It is, rather, a modernized classic and comprehensive presentation of the physical geography perspective of the great natural systems operating on planet Earth [...] should be successful with students and teachers alike as the scientific process and physical science fundamentals are presented with relevance to everyday life."
- Dean Fairbanks, California State University, Chico

"Will Marsh, an excellent scientist and a talented artist, has written the best textbooks in physical geography for three decades, and [this] new offering [...] continues this tradition. The book's distinctive features include explanations that start from a comprehensible scale that the student can understand, along with gorgeous illustrations."
- Jeff Dozier, University of California, Santa Barbara

"[...] an all-encompassing textbook filled with stunning pictures and dozens of single-concept diagrams that, combined with clear text, eloquently describe Earth's physical geography [...] a great tool to teach about naturogenic and anthropogenic factors of change, such as volcanic eruptions or human-made pollution, to science and non-science undergraduates alike [...] The book is overall very well presented and organised: the structure of individual chapters and their presentation are excellent [...] The usefulness of Physical Geography as a teaching resource is further displayed in the companion volume and online materials [...] Any textbook that encourages students to be the environmentally conscious citizens of tomorrow is welcome – and Physical Geography is an ideal volume."
- Barbara Ferriera, GeoQ

"Text and graphics are complementary and well integrated. It is very much a 'learning and teaching' tool, and is backed by copious online resources. It should be suitable for A-Level or undergraduate students [...] In short, the book is excellent, providing not merely the details of its subject but demonstrating how to study physical geography from an inclusive, truly holistic viewpoint."
- Steve Rowlatt, Geoscientist Online (


Part I. Earth's Energy, Climate and Ocean Systems:
1. Mapping our course of study
2. An overview of planet Earth: some geographic observations about Earth
3. The Sun-Earth energy system: fuel for a planet
4. Earth's radiation and heat systems over land and water
5. The great systems of global air and ocean circulation
6. Atmospheric moisture, precipitation and weather systems
7. Modern climate types and patterns
8. Climate change, past, present, and future

Part II. Earth's Life Support Systems:
9. Earth as an ecosystem: energy, food, and life
10. Biogeography: geographic distribution of plant and animal types
11. Human origins, diffusion, and the alteration of natural landscapes
12. Soil system, processes, and formation
13. Soil types, distribution, and land use relations

Part III. Earth's Water Systems:
14. The global water system
15. Runoff systems, streamflow, and watersheds
16. Groundwater, lakes, and water resources

Part IV. Earth's Rock and Mountain Systems:
17. Earth's internal system: heat, convection, rocks and the planet's skin
18. The formation and geographic organization of the continents and ocean basins
19. Mountain building systems, earthquakes, and volcanoes

Part V. Earth's Erosional and Landform Systems:
20. Geomorphic systems: rock weathering, hill slope processes, and slope formation
21. Stream systems, valley formation, and fluvial landscapes
22. Coastal systems: waves, currents, and landforms
23. Glacial systems: growth, motion, and work of glacial ice
24. Wind, sand, dust, and deserts

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William M. Marsh was a professor at the University of Michigan for 30 years, where he founded the Department of Earth and Resource Science and taught physical geography. He is now with the University of British Columbia where he teaches courses in landscape analysis. He is an experienced textbook author, having written three textbooks in physical geography and two in land use applications, one of which has become a standard in the field of environmental planning.

Martin M. Kaufman has taught physical geography and geographic information systems at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels for over 20 years. He is also an experienced textbook author. Currently, he is a professor of earth science at the University of Michigan, Flint, where he teaches the introductory sequence of physical geography courses.

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