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Thermodynamics of Natural Systems: Theory and Applications in Geochemistry and Environmental Science


By: Greg Anderson(Author)

428 pages, 141 b/w illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Apr 2017 | Edition: 3 | #239444 | ISBN-13: 9781107175211
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £54.99 $72/€63 approx

About this book

Thermodynamics deals with energy levels and energy transfers between states of matter, and is therefore fundamental to all branches of science. This new edition provides an accessible introduction to the subject, specifically tailored to the interests of Earth and environmental science students. Beginning at an elementary level, the first four chapters explain all necessary concepts via a simple graphical approach. Throughout the rest of Thermodynamics of Natural Systems, the author emphasizes the importance of field observations and demonstrates that, despite being derived from idealized circumstances, thermodynamics is crucial to understanding ore formation, acid mine drainage, and other real-world geochemical and geophysical problems. Exercises now follow each chapter, with answers provided at the end of the book. An associated website includes extra chapters and password-protected answers to additional problems. Thermodynamics of Natural Systems is ideal for undergraduate and graduate students studying geochemistry and environmental science.

"The beauty and power of this book is how Greg Anderson shows us, in rigorous yet practical and pictorial terms, how we can learn about the fundamental behaviour of our complex planet from classical thermodynamics alone. Anderson conveys this [...] with fervor, with humor and with many calculated examples – which all emphasize that asking the right question is the key to meaningful simplification, and to answers that capture the essence of complex natural systems."
– Christoph A. Heinrich, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Switzerland

"Thermodynamics is one of the most universal scientific disciplines [...] But being so universal also requires it to be introduced and taught very differently to students in such diverse fields of science. This 3rd edition is a really welcome and timely book in this context. The book introduces and discusses the most important concepts of equilibrium thermodynamics in their specific applications to geological and environmental sciences. The author has made particular efforts to only use minimum necessary formal mathematical apparatus to present the thermodynamic laws and relationships. However, this is carefully done without any oversimplification or loss of physical accuracy [...] The textbook can be recommended as a very good introductory course in thermodynamics for undergraduate geoscience and environmental science students."
– Andrey G. Kalinichev, École des Mines de Nantes, France



1. What is thermodynamics?
2. Defining our terms
3. The First Law of Thermodynamics
4. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
5. Getting data
6. Some simple applications
7. Solutions
8. Fugacity and activity
9. The equilibrium constant
10. Rock-water systems
11. Redox reactions
12. Phase diagrams
13. Affinity and extent of reaction

Appendix A. Constants and numerical values
Appendix B. Standard state properties
Appendix C. Answers to exercises


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Greg Anderson is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Toronto. He began his career as a mining engineer and exploration geologist before becoming interested in geochemistry. After completing his Ph.D. at Toronto, he spent five years at Pennsylvania State University doing experimental work on mineral solubilities. Afterward, he returned to Toronto, where he has since divided his time between studies of mineral systems, lead-zinc ore deposits, and theoretical geochemistry. He is the co-author of two other textbooks for Earth scientists, and in 2000 was awarded the Past Presidents' Medal (now named the Peacock Medal) by the Mineralogical Association of Canada for contributions to geochemistry.

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