Physical Geology 13 9780078096105
Physical Geology

Physical Geology

Grade Levels: 13
By Charles (Carlos) Plummer and Diane Carlson and Lisa Hammersley
Copyright: 2016
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
MHID: 0078096103
ISBN 13: 9780078096105

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New Features

Learning Objectives have been added to each chapter to help students focus the study of material and to understand the kinds of questions they should be able to answer once they have mastered the content.

A major revision to the problems at the end of chapters. The new and revised questions reflect the learning objectives and follow the flow of the chapter more clearly.

New boxes, sections, and photos detailing recent geologic events such as the damage to coastal areas from 2012 Superstorm Sandy; the devastating 2013 flash floods in Colorado; the catastrophic collapse of sinkholes that have taken houses, cars, and lives; dust storms (haboobs) in Phoenix, Arizona, and elsewhere in drought-stricken areas; and the meteorite impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Environmental issues are also addressed in this edition, such as hydraulic fracturing “fracking” for natural gas in shale and the consequences to groundwater supply and contamination (box 11.3).

A chapter-by-chapter breakdown of changes/additions is available in the Preface.

SmartBook is the first and only adaptive reading experience. Fueled by LearnSmart – the most widely used and intelligent adaptive learning technology – SmartBook identifies what you know and don’t know, and highlights what you need to learn at the moment that is most impactful for you. SmartBook now comes with additional learning resources (video clips, presentations, animations, etc.) which help you to conceptualize and engage with the content in a more focused manner.

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For Connect® users, the ReadAnywhere App is a free, downloadable app available on iOS and Android mobile devices. It gives students mobile freedom to access their eBook anywhere, even offline, on their smartphone or tablet. Once chapters are downloaded, students can use the same tools that are available in the eBook. Any notes or highlights they make in the eBook will sync across platforms. Visit for more information.

Key Features

Physical Geology, 15e, features five types of boxed readings:

  • In Greater Depth Boxes. These boxes discuss phenomena that are not necessarily covered in a geology course (e.g., Precious Gems) or present material in greater depth (e.g., Calculating the Age of a Rock).
  • Environmental Geology Boxes. These boxes discuss topics that relate the chapter material to environmental issues, including impact on humans (e.g., Radon-A Radioactive Health Hazard).
  • Planetary Geology Boxes. These boxes compare features elsewhere in the solar system to their Earthly counterparts (e.g.; Stream Features on the Planet Mars).
  • Earth Systems Boxes. These boxes highlight the interrelationships between the geosphere, the atmosphere, and other Earth systems (e.g., Oxygen Isotopes and Climate Change).
  • Web Boxes. These boxes summarize material that is further explained on the book’s website.

    Photos in the text are accompanied by an illustration depicting how a geologist would view the scene. Students gain experience by understanding how the trained eye of a geologist views a scene and understands the historical processes that have occurred, resulting in what they are seeing today.

    Outstanding art program features accuracy in scale, realism, and aesthetic appeal.

    Each chapter concludes with the following learning tools:

  • Summaries bring together and summarize the major concepts of the chapter.
  • Terms to Remember include all the boldfaced terms covered in the chapter so that students can verify their understanding of the concepts behind each term.
  • Testing Your Knowledge Quizzes allow students to gauge their understanding of the chapter. (The answers to the multiple choice portions are posted on the website)
  • Expanding Your Knowledge Questions stimulate a student’s critical thinking by asking questions with answers that are not found in the textbook.
  • Exploring Web Resources describe some of the best sites on the web that relate to the chapter.

  • Physical Geology

    Chapter 1: Introducing Geology, the Essentials of Plate Tectonics, and Other Important Concepts

    Chapter 2: Atoms, Elements and Minerals

    Chapter 3: Igneous Rocks, the Origin and Evolution of Magma, and Intrusive Activity

    Chapter 4: Volcanism and Extrusive Rocks

    Chapter 5: Weathering and Soil

    Chapter 6: Sediment and Sedimentary Rocks

    Chapter 7: Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks

    Chapter 8: Time and Geology

    Chapter 9: Mass Wasting

    Chapter 10: Streams and Floods

    Chapter 11: Ground Water

    Chapter 12: Glaciers and Glaciation

    Chapter 13: Deserts and Wind Action

    Chapter 14: Waves, Beaches, and Coasts

    Chapter 15: Geologic Structures

    Chapter 16: Earthquakes

    Chapter 17: Earth’s Interior and Geophysical Properties

    Chapter 18: The Sea Floor

    Chapter 19: Plate Tectonics—The Unifying Theory

    Chapter 20: Mountain Belts and the Continental Crust

    Chapter 21: Global Climate Change

    Chapter 22: Resources

    Chapter 23: The Earth’s Companions

    Appendix A: Identification of Minerals

    Appendix B: Identification of Rocks

    Appendix C: The Elements Most Significant to Geology

    Appendix D: Periodic Table of Elements

    Appendix E: Selected Conversion Factors

    Appendix F: Rock Symbols

    Appendix G: Commonly Used Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots

    About the Author

    Charles (Carlos) Plummer

    Carlos Plummer is a professor at California State University - Sacramento.

    Diane Carlson

    Diane Carlson is a professor at California State University - Sacramento.

    Lisa Hammersley