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Academic & Professional Books  Earth System Sciences  Geosphere  Earth & Planetary Sciences: General

Physical Geology Today

By: Damian Nance(Author), Brendan Murphy(Author)
752 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour tables
Physical Geology Today
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  • Physical Geology Today ISBN: 9780199965557 Paperback Sep 2015 Usually dispatched within 6 days
Price: £99.99
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About this book

Physical Geology Today combines a deep integration of plate tectonics with an emphasis on conceptual understanding in order to paint an integrated picture of how Earth works. Damian Nance and Brendan Murphy blend clear engaging prose with hundreds of meticulously crafted illustrations to tell a clear and accessible geologic story that introduces the right amount of terminology at the right time.


Part I. The Solid Earth

1. Foundations of Modern Geology
1.1. Geology and the Scientific Method
1.2 The Birth of Geology
1.3 Geologic Time
1.4 Earth Materials: Minerals, Rocks, and Fossils
1.5 The Rock Cycle
1.6 Origin of Earth and the Solar System
1.7 Earth's Internal Heat
1.8 Earth as a System
1.9 What Does a Geologist Do?
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Some Basic Concepts in Chemistry and Physics
IN DEPTH: Origin of the Universe—The Big Bang Theory
LIVING ON EARTH: Earth's Seasons—A 4.5-Billion-Year Legacy?

2. Plate Tectonics
2.1 Continental Drift
2.2 Paleomagnetism
2.3 Seafloor Spreading
2.4 Subduction
2.5 Moving Plates and Plate Boundaries
2.6 Hotspots: A Plate Tectonic Enigma
LIVING ON EARTH: The Remarkable Journey of the Green Turtle
IN DEPTH: Failed Rifts

3. Minerals
3.1 Elements: Building Blocks of Minerals
3.2 Minerals: Orderly Expressions of Matter
3.3 Physical Properties of Minerals
3.4 Silicate Rock-Forming Minerals
3.5 Nonsilicate Rock-Forming Minerals
3.6 Minerals and Rocks
3.7 Minerals and People
3.8 Minerals and Plate Tectonics
LIVING ON EARTH: Origin of the Chemical Elements
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Some Basic Definitions in Science
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Solids, Liquids, and Gases

4. Origin and Evolution of Igneous Rocks
4.1. Igneous Rocks and the Rock Cycle
4.2. Magma Formation and Transport
4.3 Textures of Igneous Rocks
4.4 Classifying Igneous Rocks
4.5 Evolution of Igneous Rocks
4.6 Volcanic Eruptions
4.7 Igneous Rocks and Plate Tectonics
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Heat, Temperature, and Magma
LIVING ON EARTH: Volcanoes and the Air We Breathe
IN DEPTH: Can Explosive Eruptions Be Predicted?

5. Weathering and Soils
5.1 Weathering
5.2 Mechanical Weathering
5.3 Chemical Weathering
5.4 Soils
5.5. Weathering, Soils, and Plate Tectonics
IN DEPTH: The Role of Oxidation in Earth's History

6. Sedimentation and Sedimentary Rocks
6.1 From Sediment to Sedimentary Rock
6.2 Types of Sedimentary Rocks
6.3 Classifying Sedimentary Rocks
6.4 Interpreting Sedimentary Rocks
6.5 Depositional Environments and Sedimentary Facies
6.6 Sediments, Sedimentary Rocks, and Plate Tectonics
LIVING ON EARTH: Salt of the Earth
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Settling Velocities

7. Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks
7.1 Metamorphic Rocks and the Rock Cycle
7.2 Factors That Control Metamorphism
7.3 Types of Metamorphism
7.4 Metamorphic Textures
7.5 Classifying Metamorphic Rocks
7.6 Metamorphic Zones and Facies
7.7 Metamorphism and Plate Tectonics
IN DEPTH: Shock Metamorphism
IN DEPTH: Metamorphism and the Rock Cycle

Part II. Evolution Of The Solid Earth

8. Geologic Time
8.1 Measuring Geologic Time: Relative and Absolute Ages
8.2 A Short History of Geologic Time
8.3 Relative Dating: Determining Chronological Order
8.4 Correlating Rock Strata
8.5 Relative Dating and the Geologic Time Scale
8.6 Absolute Dating: Finding a Geologic Clock
8.7 Absolute Dating and the Geologic Time Scale
8.8 A Sense of Time
8.9 Geologic Time and Plate Tectonics
LIVING ON EARTH: Radioactivity and Radon Gas
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Types of Radioactive Decay
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Linear versus Exponential Relationships
IN DEPTH: The Quest for the Age of Earth

9. Plates and Plate Boundaries
9.1 Plates on Earth's Surface
9.2 Plates and Isostasy
9.3 Plate Boundaries
9.4 Divergent Boundaries: Creating Oceans
9.5 Convergent Boundaries: Recycling Crust and Building Continents
9.6 Transform Boundaries: Fracturing the Crust
9.7 Hotspots: Tracking Plate Movements
9.8 Plate Tectonics and Plate-Driving Mechanisms
LIVING ON EARTH: The Bizarre World of the Mid-Ocean Ridges
IN DEPTH: Ophiolites—Clues to the Structure of Oceanic Crust

10. Deformation and Mountain Building
10.1 Deformation
10.2 Orientation of Geologic Structures
10.3 Fractures
10.4 Folds
10.5 Unconformities Revisited
10.6 Plate Tectonics and Mountain Building
10.7 Mountain Building in the Geologic Past
IN DEPTH: Partial Melting and the Making of Continental Crust—Nature's Ultimate Recycling Program
LIVING ON EARTH: In the Shadow of the Himalayas

11. Earthquakes and Earth's Interior
11.1 Heat and Density: Clues to Earth's Interior
11.2 Earthquakes and Elastic Rebound
11.3 Seismic Waves
11.4 Journey to the Center of the Earth
11.5 Earth's Structure and Composition
11.6 Circulation in Earth's Interior
11.7 Plate Tectonics and the Fate of Subducted Slabs
LIVING ON EARTH: Predicting Earthquakes—Some Lessons from California
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Density, Volume, and Seismic Velocity
IN DEPTH: Earth's Magnetism and Its Dynamic Core

Part III. Sculpting The Solid Earth

12. Mass Wasting
12.1 Mass Wasting: Downslope Movement
12.2 Factors That Influence Mass Wasting
12.3 Mass Wasting Mechanisms
12.4 Minimizing Mass Wasting Hazards
12.5 Mass Wasting and Plate Tectonics
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Surface Tension, Sand Castles, and the Goldilocks Solution
IN DEPTH: Mass Wasting on the Moon and Mars
LIVING ON EARTH: The Oso Landslide, Washington State

13. Running Water
13.1 Running Water and the Hydrologic Cycle
13.2 Streamflow
13.3 Stream Erosion
13.4 Stream Transport
13.5 Stream Deposition
13.6 Floods and Flood Prevention
13.7 Running Water and Plate Tectonics
13.8 Running Water on Other Worlds
LIVING ON EARTH: The Death of the Aral Sea—An Environmental Disaster
IN DEPTH: Dams and the Human Exploitation of Surface Water

14. Groundwater
14.1 Groundwater: A Vital Resource
14.2 The Water Table
14.3 Aquifers and Groundwater Flow
14.4 The Dissolving Power of Groundwater
14.5 Exploitation of Groundwater
14.6 Groundwater and Plate Tectonics

15. Glaciers and Glaciation
15.1 Glaciers and Glacier Ice
15.2 Glacial Erosion
15.3 Glacial Deposition
15.4 The Pleistocene Ice Age
15.5 Plate Tectonics and Glaciation
15.6 Ice on Other Worlds
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Air Temperature in the Lower Atmosphere
LIVING ON EARTH: The Origin of the Great Lakes
IN DEPTH: Lake Missoula and the Channeled Scablands

16. Deserts and Winds
16.1 The Origins of Deserts
16.2 Weathering and Erosion in Deserts
16.3 Wind in Deserts
16.4 Desertification: Natural and Human Induced
16.5 Deserts and Plate Tectonics
16.6 Deserts on Mars
SCIENCE REFRESHER: Ocean Currents and the Coriolis Effect
IN DEPTH: Dust Devils

17. Coastlines and Coastal Processes
17.1 Coastal Processes
17.2 Wind-Driven Waves
17.3 Tides
17.4 Coastal Erosion
17.5 Coastal Deposition
17.6 Coastlines
17.7 Coastal Management
17.8 Coastlines and Plate Tectonics
LIVING ON EARTH: Sea Level and Polar Ice
LIVING ON EARTH: Hurricanes and Storm Surges
IN DEPTH: Sea Level and Plate Tectonics

Part IV. Earth's Resources

18. Mineral Deposits and Industrial Materials
18.1 Consumption of Minerals and Industrial Materials
18.2 Metals and Metallic Minerals
18.3 Nonmetallic Minerals and Industrial Materials
18.4 Formation of Mineral Deposits
18.5 Plate Tectonics and Mineral Deposits
18.6 Mineral Exploration
18.7 Future Demands on Mineral Resources
IN DEPTH: Mechanisms of Mineral Concentration
LIVING ON EARTH: The Environmental Impact of Mining

19. Energy Resources
19.1 Energy Use
19.2 Petroleum—Oil and Natural Gas
19.3 Coal
19.4 Nuclear Power
19.5 Renewable Energy
19.6 Plate Tectonics and Energy Resources
IN DEPTH: Correlation and the Search for Oil and Gas
LIVING ON EARTH: The Dilemma of Fracking
IN DEPTH: Is Ice That Burns the Fuel of the Future?

Part V. Earth And Beyond

20. Physical Geology and Climate Change
20.1 Taking Earth's Pulse
20.2 The Greenhouse Effect: A Matter of Balance
20.3 The Carbon Cycle
20.4 Climate Change: A Geologic Perspective
20.5 Earth-Sun Geometry
20.6 Feedback Systems
20.7 Plate Tectonics and Climate Change
20.8 Putting It all Together: The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warmth
LIVING ON EARTH: Camels in the Arctic!
SCIENCE REFRESHER: The Physics of Global Warming
IN DEPTH: Melting of the Arctic Ice—An Omen of Global Warming?

21. The Planets
21.1 Earth and Its Moon
21.2 The Terrestrial Planets and Their Moons
21.3 Plate Tectonics: A Planetary Perspective
21.4 The Jovian Planets, Their Moons, and the Kuiper Belt
21.5 Asteroids, Meteors, Meteorites, and Comets
21.6 Exoplanets and Other Solar Systems
IN DEPTH: Martian Life on Earth?
LIVING ON EARTH: Visits from the Celestial Junkyard

Appendix A: SI and Customary Units and Their Conversions
Appendix B: Periodic Table of the Elements

Customer Reviews


Damian Nance is Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Ohio University. Damian has twice received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award, has been twice nominated for the University's Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award, and has toured as a distinguished lecturer for the Atlantic Provinces Intercollegiate Council for the Sciences. He has also worked for the Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratories, Exxon Production Research Company, and Cominco America. In addition to being the author of over 150 papers, Dr. Nance is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, former Editor of GSA Today, upcoming Editor of Lithosphere, and Associate Editor of Gondwana Research and Geoscience Frontiers.

Brendan Murphy is Professor of Earth Sciences at St. Francis Xavier University. Brendan is an engaged teacher who has supervised more than 50 undergraduate theses and still manages to maintain an active research program that has allowed him to publish over 165 papers. He has been honored for his service to the discipline with the Geologic Society of America's Distinguished Service Award and with the Geologic Association of Canada's J. Willis Ambrose Medal. Few geoscientists can match Dr. Murphy's record of excellence in professional endeavor, dedication to education, and record of service to the profession. Dr. Nance and Dr. Murphy have collaborated together for 28 years, publishing their first joint paper in 1987. Since then, they have coauthored over 100 papers and two books.

By: Damian Nance(Author), Brendan Murphy(Author)
752 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour tables
Media reviews

"The authors present an excellent, progressive history of the development of plate tectonics that students should be able to follow. It is, quite frankly, the best presentation of this topic that I have read in an introductory textbook."
– Daniel Hembree, Ohio University

"I really like the writing style. It is clear, expository, and also accurate and unambiguous. I actually thought I was reading a textbook written by John McPhee in a few passages, and I cannot think of a higher compliment to pay to the authors."
– Stephen D. Lewis, California State University-Fresno

"Physical Geology Today is an excellent textbook for introductory courses, because it uses clear language and real-world examples to engage students without oversimplifying big concepts."
– Julie Hoover, Durham Technical Community College

"The level of writing is perfect for beginning science students. The authors weave the story together well, incorporating bits of information from other chapters in order to promote the 'big' picture."
– Stacey Verardo, George Mason University

"A visually compelling, easy to access text."
– John Van Hoesen, Green Mountain College

"The level is appropriate for anybody who actually wants to learn the science of geology. This text enables students to have enough information to develop much needed (and called for) critical thinking skills in the geologic domain."
– Scott Brame, Clemson University

"This text is well written, easy to follow and interesting for students. These authors clearly know how to make geology interesting."
– Tim Bralower, Penn State University

"This is first-rate text that brings geology to readers in an accessible and exciting way."
– Joachim Dorsch, St. Louis Community College-Meramec

"The check your understanding questions and review questions area great features that will help students."
– John Creasy, Bates College

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