Plummer Physical Geology
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Earth Revealed

Student Edition
Instructor Edition
Physical Geology, 10/e

Charles C. Plummer, California State University at Sacramento
David McGeary, California State University at Sacramento
Diane H. Carlson, California State University at Sacramento

ISBN: 007252815x
Copyright year: 2005


Physical Geology is a classic that has been used for introductory geology classes for two and a half decades. During that time, it has evolved into a market-leading text read by thousands of students. In keeping with this long-standing tradition, the tenth edition has been updated to include the most current information from the various subdisciplines that comprise physical geology. Physical Geology is for both nonscience majors and students contemplating majoring in geology. Although the material covered is challenging to students, the clear, straightforward writing and readily comprehensible illustrations keep students' attention and stimulate their interest in the topics covered. We would like to thank the thousands of instructors and students who have helped to make this book a success. Input from users has helped us shape and improve each edition.

Our purpose is to clearly present the various aspects of physical geology so that students can understand the logic of what scientists have discovered as well as the elegant way the parts are interrelated to explain how Earth, as a whole, works. This approach is epitomized by our treatment of plate tectonics. In the first chapter, we present an overview of plate tectonics. In appropriate subsequent chapters, we show how the topic fits into plate tectonic theory. (For instance, in chapter 3 on igneous activity, we describe in detail how magmas are generated at plate boundaries.) We reserve our comprehensive treatment of plate tectonics for a chapter near the end of the book. By this time, the student who retains the information from the earlier chapters can see how the pieces fit together for a very elegant explanation of how the Earth works.

The content is structured along traditional lines. The first part of the book (chapters 2 through 7) covers Earth materials (rocks and minerals). Chapter 8 is about geologic time. The next six chapters are on surficial processes. Chapters 15 through 17 relate to tectonic activity (geologic structures, earthquakes, Earth's interior). The three chapters that follow involve material closely related to plate tectonics. Chapter 18 describes the nature of the sea floor and the oceanic crust. However, we do not describe how plate tectonics accounts for features of the sea floor in chapter 18; rather, we set the stage for our comprehensive discourse of plate tectonics in chapter 19. Chapter 20 describes mountain belts and the evolution of the continental crust, expanding on the presentation of plate tectonic theory in the previous chapter. The final two chapters are on material that is often not included in introductory courses because of time or other constraints. Chapter 21 covers geologic resources, and chapter 22 is on planetary geology.

We recognize that many instructors organize their courses in different ways. Therefore, we have made groups of chapters and individual chapters as self-contained as possible, allowing for customization. Those chapters on surficial processes can be covered earlier or later in a course. Many instructors prefer covering geologic time at the start of a course. If you would like to customize this text to fit your course needs or provide an online text for your students, please contact your McGraw-Hill representative.

Although we retain the basic framework of the book from previous editions, we are excited to introduce new features, which include changes or additions to each chapter as well as a few more substantial changes, in response to feedback from reviewers and students. We have integrated more websites into the text, boxes, and the end-of-chapter web exploration section.

New Planetary Geology Chapter
On the advice of our reviewers, we have added a chapter on planetary geology (chapter 22), whose material is entirely new to the book. This chapter was written by Tom Arny, Professor Emeritus of the University of Massachusetts and author of the successful McGraw-Hill Explorations astronomy textbooks.

Exceptional Illustrations
Every illustration and photo has been evaluated for accuracy, currency, and visual appeal, and has either been replaced, updated, or otherwise revised where necessary. This tenth edition features ninety-five new illustrations and seventy new photos. In addition, over one hundred and fifty illustrations have been revised and redrawn. The new illustrations were created in consultation with Dr. Abhijit Basu of Indiana University and thoroughly reviewed by a panel of nine advisors to contribute to a visually spectacular and pedagogically sound art program.

Content Changes
Some of the significant content changes include:
  • An integration of the Earth systems approach to geology is introduced in chapter 1, and subsequent chapters include a section relating chapter material to Earth systems. The hydrologic cycle in chapter 10 has been rewritten to reflect Earth systems.
  • Earth systems are discussed in new boxed readings. For example, in chapter 18, we discuss the effect of tides on shallow earthquakes along the Juan de Fuca Ridge. In chapter 2, we explain what we’ve learned about past climate changes from studying oxygen isotopes.
  • Astrogeology boxes have been retitled "Planetary Geology." There are fewer boxes throughout as many topics are now covered in the new planetary geology chapter (chapter 22). We have retained those boxes that are particularly appropriate to the topic at hand. We have also added a box on wind features on Mars.
  • The importance and use of stable isotopes in geology is described in chapter 2 and includes a new Earth systems box on oxygen isotopes and global climate change.
  • A section has been added to the chapter on volcanism (chapter 4) on the influence of volcanoes on religious or supernatural beliefs in cultures that live with volcanoes.
  • In chapter 8 on geologic time, we introduce the new technique of cosmogenic exposure dating, which uses isotopes to determine how long a surface has been exposed to bombardment from solar radiation.
  • A section on underwater landslides has been added to the chapter on mass wasting (chapter 9).
  • In the earthquake chapter, (chapter 16) we have a discussion and photo of the November, 2002, Denali earthquake in Alaska. We have added new information on how an earthquake-triggered submarine landslide may have increased the size of the 1998 Papua, New Guinea, tsunami. The earthquake prediction section was substantially rewritten.
  • Some of the descriptions of the geologic occurrence of geologic resources have been moved from chapter 21 (geologic resources) to appropriate chapters. For instance, the portion on ore deposits associated with hydrothermal activity has been moved to chapter 7. This is in response to many instructors who don't have time to cover chapter 21 but nevertheless want important resources to be part of their courses.
    Features that will capture and maintain a student's attention include:
  • Each chapter begins with a statement of the purpose of the chapter and its relationship with other chapters. This is usually followed by a section showing how the chapter's material relates to Earth systems.
  • Geology is a visually oriented science. The book contains 457 photographs and 450 illustrations. The art pieces are vital to understanding the concepts being discussed, so they must be straightforward and uncluttered yet visually appealing. We strive to have the best photographs possible so they are the next best thing to seeing geology on a field trip.
  • "In Greater Depth" 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 discuss topics that relate the chapter material to environmental issues, including impact on humans (e.g., Radon—A Radioactive Health Hazard).
  • "Planetary Geology" boxes compare features elsewhere in the solar system to their Earthly counterparts (e.g., Stream Features on the Planet Mars).
  • "Earth Systems" boxes are new in the tenth edition and highlight the interrelationships between the geosphere, the atmosphere, and other Earth systems (e.g., Oxygen Isotopes and Climate Change).
  • "Web" boxes summarize material that is further explained on the book's Online Learning Center.
  • The Internet has revolutionized the way we obtain knowledge, and this book makes full use of its potential to help students learn. We have URLs for appropriate websites throughout the book—within the main body of text, at the end of many boxes, and at the end of chapters. We have made the process student-friendly by having all websites that we mention in the book posted as links in this book's Online Learning Center website. (We also include all URLs in the textbook for those who wish to go directly to a site.)
  • Internet exercises are located on the text's Online Learning Center and allow students to investigate appropriate sites as well as raise interest for further, independent exploration on a topic. The Online Learning Center also includes additional readings and video resources. By placing these on the website, we can update them after the book has been published. We expect to add more sites and exercises to our website as we discover new ones after the book has gone to press. The Online Learning Center also features online quizzes, flashcards, animations, and other interactive items to help a student succeed in a geology course.
  • Chapter resources include: Summary, which brings together and summarizes the major concepts of the chapter; Terms to Remember, which has all of the boldfaced terms covered in the chapter so that students can verify their understanding of the concepts behind each term; Testing Your Knowledge, a quiz that students can use to gauge their understanding of the chapter (The answers to the multiple choice portions are posted on the website.); Expanding Your Knowledge, which is intended to stimulate a student's critical thinking by asking questions with answers that are not found in the textbook; and Exploring Web Resources, which describes some of the best sites on the Web that relate to the chapter.
  • Animations list the animations that were created for the chapter and are accessible on the Online Learning Center. A special animation icon has been placed beside every figure that has a corresponding animation on the Online Learning Center.
    The tenth edition provides a complete physical geology package for the student and instructor.

    For the Student
  • Online Learning Center at This comprehensive site gives you the opportunity to further explore topics presented in the book using the Internet. The site contains several types of interactive quizzes with immediate feedback, animations, flashcards, Internet activities, additional readings, answers to selected end-of-chapter questions, and a career center. We’ve integrated PowerWeb: Geology's information and timely world news, web links, and much more into the site to make these valuable resources easily accessible to students.
  • For the Instructor
  • Online Learning Center at Included in the password-protected Instructor's Edition is an Instructor's Manual that contains a chapter overview, a list of changes, learning objectives, a list of boxes, discussion and essay questions, and selected readings. The Online Learning Center also contains PowerPoint Lecture Outlines, as well as the list of slides and transparencies that accompany the tenth edition.
  • Digital Content Manager CD-ROM
    This CD-ROM contains every illustration, photograph, and table from the text, sixty-nine animations, active art, lecture outlines and 200 additional photos. The software makes customizing your multimedia presentation easy. You can organize figures in any order you want; add labels, lines, and your own artwork; integrate material from other sources; edit and annotate lecture notes; and have the option of placing your multimedia lecture into another presentation program such as PowerPoint.
  • Instructor's Testing and Resource CD-ROM
    This cross-platform CD-ROM provides a wealth of resources for the instructor. Supplements featured on this CD-ROM include a computerized test bank using Brownstone Diploma testing software to quickly create customized exams. This user-friendly program allows instructors to search for questions by topic, format, or difficulty level; edit existing questions or add new ones; and scramble questions and answer keys for multiple versions of the same test.
    Other assets on the Instructor's Testing and Resource CD-ROM are grouped within easy-to-use folders. The Instructor's Manual and Test Item File are available in both Word and PDF formats. Word files of the test bank are included for those instructors who prefer to work outside of the test-generator software.
  • 250 Transparencies
    Included are 250 illustrations from the text, all enlarged for excellent visibility in the classroom.

  • 100 Slides
    One hundred slides include illustrations and photographs from the text.

  • New edition of Laboratory Manual for Physical Geology, 12th ed., by Zumberge, Rutford, and Carter, ISBN 0-07-282689-4
  • Laboratory Manual for Physical Geology, 4th ed., by Jones and Jones, ISBN 0-07-243655-7
  • Course Management Systems
    The Online Learning Center can be easily loaded into course management systems such as:

  • Blackboard
  • WebCT
  • eCollege
  • PageOut
    We have tried to write a book that will be useful to both students and instructors. We would be grateful for any comments by users, especially regarding mistakes within the text or sources of good geological photographs.

    We are pleased that Tom Arny came on board to write the planetary geology chapter for this edition. We would also like to acknowledge Nancy Buening for writing the "Earth Systems" box in the seafloor chapter. We greatly appreciate the publisher's "book team," whose names appear on the copyright page. Their guidance, support, and interest in the book were vital for the completion of this edition.

    Diane Carlson would like to thank her husband, Reid Buell, for his support and technical assistance with several chapters. We thank Susan Slaymaker for writing the planetary geology material originally in early editions.

    We are also very grateful to the following reviewers of the ninth edition for their careful evaluation and useful suggestions for improvement.

    Jeffrey M. Amato, New Mexico State University
    Scott Babcock, Western Washington University
    Kathryn Baldwin, Washington State University
    Chris Barker, Stephen F. Austin State University
    Mark Baskaran, Wayne State University
    J. Bret Bennington, Hofstra University
    Mary Lou Bevier, University of British Columbia
    Theodore J. Bornhorst, Michigan Technological University
    Robert L. Brenner, University of Iowa
    Mark J. Camp, University of Toledo
    Stan Celestian, Glendale Community College
    Wang-Ping Chen, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Albert C. Claus, Loyola University–Chicago
    Nancy Dawers, Tulane University
    Michael R. Forrest, Rio Hondo College
    Nels F. Forsman, University of North Dakota
    Jeffrey K. Greenberg, Wheaton College
    John R. Griffin, University of Nebraska
    Duane R. Hampton, Western Michigan University
    Steven C. Hanson, Brigham Young University–Idaho
    Paul Hudak, University of North Texas
    Solomon A. Isiorho, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne
    Neil E. Johnson, Appalachian State University
    Steve Kadel, Glendale Community College
    David T. King, Jr., Auburn University
    M. John Kocurko, Midwestern State University
    Adrianne Amos Leinbach, Wake Technical Community College
    Craig M. Mancuso, Mount Union College
    Richard R. Pardi, William Paterson University
    Chuck G. Patterson, Red Rocks Community College
    Edward J. Perantoni, Lindenwood University
    Bradley Ritts, Utah State University
    David R. Schwimmer, Columbus State University
    David Steffy, Jacksonville State University
    David Sparks, Texas A&M University
    Kathleen Surpless, Stanford University
    Aaron S. Yoshinobu, Texas Tech University
    Nick Zentner, Central Washington University-Ellensburg

    Scott Babcock, Western Washington University
    Kathryn Baldwin, Washington State University
    Chris Barker, Stephen F. Austin State University
    Mark J. Camp, University of Toledo
    Jeff Connolly, University of Arkansas-Little Rock
    Paul Hudak, University of North Texas
    Mike Katuna, College of Charleston
    J. Steven Kite, West Virginia University-Morgantown
    James A. Spotila, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

    William Dupre, University of Houston
    Duane R. Hampton, Western Michigan University
    David T. King, Jr., Auburn University
    Lin Pope, University of Southern Mississippi
    Aaron S. Yoshinobu, Texas Tech University

    Bret Bennington, Hofstra University
    Diane Clemens-Knott, California State University—Fullerton
    Jeff Connelly, University of Arkansas—Little Rock
    Gren Draper, Florida International University—Miami
    Bill Dupre, University of Houston
    Bruce Herbert, Texas A&M University
    Paul Hudak, University of North Texas
    David King, Auburn University
    Jeff Knott, California State University—Fullerton
    Nan Lindsley-Griffin, University of Nebraska—Lincoln
    Jamie Martin-Hayden, University of Toledo
    Teresa Ramirez-Herrara, California State University—Long Beach
    Stephen Reynolds, Arizona State University
    Gail Russell, University of Southern Mississippi
    Jim Speer, Indiana State University

    To obtain an instructor login for this Online Learning Center, ask your local sales representative. If you're an instructor thinking about adopting this textbook, request a free copy for review.