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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $117.00
  • January 2015
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93750-3
  • 984 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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    1. Science
      1. Geology


    Portrait of a Planet

    Fifth Edition


    See all options and formats starting at

    Stephen Marshak (Author, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)


    Helping you teach What a Geologist Sees.

    The Fifth Edition of this bestselling textbook features stunning art, the most up-to-date science, and a wealth of online learning tools, all developed under the critical eyes of Stephen Marshak. Heavily revised with remarkably detailed photographs, animations, and maps, the text offers rich and engaging pedagogy, an expanded chapter on energy, and coverage of recent global events, from Hurricane Sandy and the Washington Landslide to Typhoon Haiyan and the Japanese Tsunami.


    A carefully crafted art and media program shows students what a geologist sees

    Photographs combined with geologic sketches guide students step-by-step through geologic processes and help them make connections between what they see and the science behind what they see. Much of the text’s art, photographs, and short captions have been revised for this edition and the animation program—created with Professor Marshak’s expert supervision—has been updated for consistency and features a new detailed 3D appearance. All digital elevation maps have been greatly improved and new or heavily revised figures appear in every chapter. A new real-world video collection showing geology in action is also available to stream, with links that can be embedded in your online classes. 

    Rich online learning tools helps students visualize and grasp core concepts

    SmartWork makes it easy for instructors to get started with a range of highly visual question types, including labeling, drag and drop, ranking, as well as 50+ interactive “What a Geologist Sees” activities. Sample sites are available through Google Earth™ for professors to use in class. A complete workbook—available as a standalone text or as a bundle option—is available for professors to prepare out-of-class assignments.  

    Keeps class current with a modern Earth Systems approach to science

    The Fifth Edition explores many of the issues making today’s headlines, from major changes in the energy landscape, especially those driven by fracking and increased use of natural gas, to the findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. New geophysics research and data from Earthscope contributes to a discussion of the structure and evolution of the North American continent and the processes controlling earthquakes and volcanoes.

    Expanded, consistent pedagogy highlights key concepts

    Every chapter in the Fifth Edition opens with objectives that guide the learning goals of that chapter and complement the take-home messages at the end of each section. Key concepts are highlighted for easy identification, and an additional “Quick Question” further challenges student understanding. “Did You Ever Wonder” questions throughout each chapter engage students with simple questions from everyday life. “See For Yourself” features point students to sample sites in Google Earth™ and, in the eBook, this feature can “fly” a student to that location directly, via Google, for further exploration.  

      Prelude:  And Just What Is Geology?

      Part I:  Our Island in Space
      Chapter 1:  Cosmology and the Birth of Earth
      Chapter 2:  Journey to the Center of the Earth
      Chapter 3:  Drifting Continents and Spreading Seas
      Chapter 4:  The Way the Earth Works: Plate Tectonics

      Part II:  Earth Materials
      Chapter 5:  Patterns in Nature: Minerals
      Interlude A:  Introducing Rocks
      Chapter 6:  Up from the Inferno: Magma and Igneous Rocks
      Interlude B:  A Surface Veneer: Sediments and Soils
      Chapter 7:  Pages of Earth's Past: Sedimentary Rocks
      Chapter 8:  Metamorphism: A Process of Change
      Interlude C:  The Rock Cycle in the Earth System

      Part III:  Tectonic Activity of a Dynamic Planet

      Chapter 9:  The Wrath of Vulcan: Volcanic Eruptions
      Chapter 10:  A Violent Pulse: Earthquakes
      Interlude D:  The Earth's Interior-Revisited: Seismic Layering, Gravity, and the Magnetic Field
      Chapter 11:  Crags, Cracks, and Crumples: Crustal Deformation and Mountain Building

      Part IV:  History Before History
      Interlude E:  Memories of Past Life: Fossils and Evolution
      Chapter 12:  Deep Time: How Old Is Old?
      Chapter 13:  A Biography of Earth

      Part V:  Earth Resources
      Chapter 14:  Squeezing Power from a Stone: Energy Resources
      Chapter 15:  Riches in Rock: Mineral Resources

      Part VI:  Processes and Problems at the Earth's Surface
      Interlude F:  Ever-Changing Landscapes and the Hydrologic Cycle
      Chapter 16:  Unsafe Ground: Landslides and Other Mass Movements
      Chapter 17:  Streams and Floods: The Geology of Running Water
      Chapter 18:  Restless Realm: Oceans and Coasts
      Chapter 19:  A Hidden Reserve: Groundwater
      Chapter 20:  An Envelope of Gas: Earth's Atmosphere and Climate
      Chapter 21:  Dry Regions: The Geology of Deserts
      Chapter 22:  Amazing Ice: Glaciers and Ice Ages
      Chapter 23:  Global Change in the Earth System