Exploring Geology



I am willing to bet a nice bottle of chardonnay that much of the Eos readership has lugged around, fondled, and fumbled through an introductory physical geology textbook of some form or another, once upon a time. Mine, in 1970, was Physical Geology, by Longwell, Flint, and Sanders, which I still have, by the way. Most of us know how “classical” physical geology textbooks have been organized: first, a broad overview of Earth processes, then several sections devoted to groups of more specific subjects (e.g., mineralogy, sedimentary rocks, and environments, with one chapter per subject), then several sections devoted to a synthesis of geologic processes in the context of plate tectonics, and finally, typically, a discussion of Earth resources and environment-related issues. Some relatively new textbooks have ventured into new pedagogical formats, for example, emphasizing how we know what we know (e.g., How Does Earth Work: Physical Geology and the Process of Science by Smith and Pun).