How Does Earth Work? Physical Geology and the Process of Science

Gary Smith / Aurora Pun  
Total pages
November 2013
Related Titles

Product detail

Product Price CHF Available  
How Does Earth Work? Physical Geology and the Process of Science
96.20 not defined


You'll find the eBook here.:

Free evaluation copy for lecturers


For introductory courses in physical geology.

Encouraging students to observe, discover, and visualise, How Does Earth Work engages students with an inquiry-based learning method that develops a solid interpretation of introductory geology. Like geology detectives, students learn to think through the scientific process and uncover evidence that explains earth’s mysteries.


Integrated learning tools facilitate the inquiry-based learning method, beginning with observations and questions.

  • In the Field: Chapters open with an essay that places a curious investigator in a realistic field or lab setting to observe and ask questions about geological phenomena.
  • Inquiry-based learning method is further illustrated throughout the chapter with headings in the form of questions that are then wrapped up in section-ending Putting It Together boxes.
  • Plate tectonics: To encourage inquiry and application of scientific reasoning, Smith and Pun establish an understanding of the nature of geologic materials and phenomena before fully developing the theory by which they are explained. Observations are first in scientific methodology, so when introducing plate tectonics in Chapter 1, the emphasis is on the general phenomena at plate boundaries.

The inquiry-based learning method is further developed as students discover the process of science as it is applied to the key concepts in geology.

  • How Do We Know section in each chapter illustrates the scientific method in practice by detailing a scientific study to show how knowledge of the chapter content was obtained.
  • Real connections: Integrated real-world connections link topics to issues of societal concern or relevant experience to increase appreciation of the value of discovering science.
  • Plate tectonics: The background introduced in Chapter 1 permits integration of plate tectonics into the chapters that follow, culminate in thorough development of the theory in Chapter 12 (after students have a firm grasp of the geological materials and structural features required to understand the theory) instead of simply presenting salient features as undisputed fact.

Artful visualisations enhance the inquiry-based learning method.

  • Art for Observation: Annotated illustrations with thoughtful descriptions help students visually observe the hypotheses that culminate throughout the inquiry-based learning method.
  • Plate tectonics: Figure 12.43 offers a dynamic illustration of plate motions through geologic time and is accompanied by an Active Art animated tutorial online.

New to this Edition

  • A new Chapter 21, “Global Warming: Real-time Change in the Earth System” focuses on why and how we study climate change.
  • A new Pathway to Learning feature opens each chapter with a visual guide to the questions students will ask in order to achieve the set learning outcomes of the chapter.
  • Student animation tutorials and Extension Modules are now offered on the Companion Website and embedded within an myeBook so students may easily navigate activities.
  • One of several new Extension Modules, “The Future of Oil,” enables students to investigate this natural resource.
  • A handsomely revised art program and overall design, as well as updated and revised content throughout, incorporate user feedback and create a welcome revision.

Table of Contents

  • 1.    Why Study Earth?
  • 2.    Minerals: Building Blocks of the Planet
  • 3.    Rocks and Rock-Forming Processes
  • 4.    Formation of Magma and Igneous Rocks
  • 5.    Formation of Sediment and Sedimentary Rocks
  • 6.    Formation of Metamorphic Rocks
  • 7.    Earth Materials as Time Keepers
  • 8.    Journey to the Center of Earth
  • 9.    Making Earth
  • 10.    Motion Inside Earth
  • 11.    Deformation of Rocks
  • 12.    Global Tectonics:  Plates and Plumes
  • 13.    Tectonics and Surface Relief
  • 14.    Soil Formation and Landscape Stability
  • 15.    Mass Movements: Landscapes in Motion
  • 16.    Streams:  Flowing Water Shapes the Landscape
  • 17.    Water Flowing Underground
  • 18.    Glaciers: Cold-Climate Sculptors of Continents
  • 19.    Shorelines: Changing Landscapes Where Land Meets Sea
  • 20.    Wind: A Global Geologic Process
  • 21.    Global Warming: Real-time Change in the Earth System