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Earth: Portrait of a Planet
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Earth: Portrait of a Planet

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This new edition retains the engaging style, clarity of explanations and accuracy of the science praised in the first edition. New case studies focus on how humans interact with the geology around them, both positively and negatively; and relevant material is included on comparative planetary science, highlighted by the success of the 2004 Mars missions.
Paperback, Second Edition, 740 pages
Published April 27th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published October 1st 2001)
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Stan
Did you know that those striking mountains rimming Yosemite Valley are the remnants of lava frozen within volcanoes, seen now because the volcanoes themselves have eroded away? Or that much of California is the result of island chains smacking into the west coast of North America and sticking? Or that the Himalayas rose because India collided with Asia in the remote past? This book describes those events and many more. I am proud to have finished this 800-pager, ostensibly a college textbook, bu ...more
Michael Cayley
This is a superb and substantial book covering all major aspects of geology and geomorphology. Each section is self-contained so there is no need to read from cover to cover. A mass of photos and diagrams support the text. Explanations are comprehensible to readers with little previous knowledge, and a glossary helps with any unfamiliar terms. "Geotours" using Google Earth are available for those who want to explore geological phenomena visually. While the illustrations and examples are drawn fr ...more
Hildur
Really good. At the beginning of every chapter it starts by giving out really basic information on its subject and then slowly gets into more complicated things so that the reader doesn't get left behind, no matter what his/her background is. The book is abundant with great illustrations that explain concepts very clearly. Marshak often uses stories from real life as examples of geological phenomenons like with Pompeii (of course) and the interesting story of the 1986 Lake Nyos disaster.

The boo
...more
Grace
I've only read the first 120 pages so far. I picked it up to help me understand the recent scary swarm of earthquakes near my LA home. It's an introductory geology text aimed at advanced HS or lower division college students. The book is very lucid, well-written and illustrated. Actually, the book explains concepts twice; once in words and then again in pictures with captions. It works for both left and right-brained people.

Now I finally understand plate tectonics and sea floor spreading. I thin
...more
Alyssa
I'm excited about this course aside from the fact that millions and billions of years will be mentioned. I feel like I want to take the class, and then research the Creationist standpoint and then write a paper for my teacher, even though I'm not required write one. ;)

*Edit* Now that the semester is long over, I should put this on the shelf (virtually, of course :P). It was very informative and helpful although we completely skipped over the whole section about soils. It's crazy to believe that
...more
Nicollette Buckle
In college, it was the first textbook that I enjoyed reading and that I found engaging. If it were not for this book I might not have found my niche in the geology department at my school.
Sami
Ah, let's see how I'd put this.. Well,.. this is the most romantic science textbook that I've ever read. I know how strange that sounds, yet it was like reading a novel, except everything was real.
Did I just have a book boner?


*Just done final exam on Engineering Geology today. Such a bittersweet feeling. :)
Lexi
Definitely not a favorite of mine, but I learned some pretty cool things!
Rebecca
This book is surprisingly engaging to read, considering it is a textbook.
Diana
Required reading for my Geology class, I learned quite a lot.
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