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The Blue Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition

Brian J. Skinner, Barbara W. Murck

ISBN: 978-0-471-23643-6 January 2011 672 Pages

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The Blue Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Sciences, 3rd Edition is an innovative text for the earth systems science course. It treats earth science from a systems perspective, now showing the five spheres and how they are interrelated. There are many photos and figures in the text to develop a strong understanding of the material presented. This along with the new media for instructors makes this a strong text for any earth systems science course.

Related Resources

Part 1. The Earth System: Our Place in Space

1. The Earth System 5

What is Earth Syste, Science? 6

Earth System Reservoirs 14

Dynamic Intercations Among Reservoirs 16

How Science Works: Hypothesis and Theory 22

2. Energy 31

What is Energy? 32

External Energy Sources 35

Internal Energy Sources 42

Earth's Energy Cycle 43

Energy and Society 46

3. Matter 53

Earth's Materials 54

Organic Matter 59

Composition and Internal Structure of Earth 61

Minerals 64

Rocks 71

Regolith 74

How Matter Moves Through the Earth System 76

4. Space and Time 81

The Sun: An Ordinary Star 82

The Solar System 85

Other Suns and Planetary Systems 96

Time and Change 101

Part 2. The Geosphere: Earth Beneath Our Feet 109

5. The Tectonic Cycle 111

Plate Tectonics: A Unifying Theory 113

Plate Motion and the Driving Force 120

Plate Interactions and Earth's Landscapes 125

Building the Continents 132

6. Earthquakes and Volcanoes 143

Earthquakes: When Rocks Shift 144

Earthquake Hazard and Risk 150

Earthquakes and Earth's Interior 156

Volcanoes: When Rocks Melt 161

Volcanic Disasters 173

Magma Underground 176

The Tectonic Connection: Origin and Distribution of Magmas and Volcanoes 177

7. The Rock Cycle 185

From Rock to Regolith 186

From Regolith to Rock 195

New Rock to Old 202

From Rock to Magma and Back Again 209

The Rock Cycle. The Tectonic Cycle, and Earth's Landscapes 212

Part 3. The Hydrosphere: Earth's Blanket of Water and Ice 221

8. The Hydrologic Cycle 223

Water and the Hydrologic Cycle 224

Water on the Ground 228

Water Under the Ground 241

Water and Society 247

9. The Cryosphere 257

Earth's Cover of Snow and Ice 258

Glaciers 260

Glaciation 270

Sea Ice 277

Ice in the Earth System 279

10. The World Ocean

Ocean Basins and Ocean Water 288

Ocean Circulation 295

Ocean Waves 301

Ocean Tides 306

Where Land and Ocean Meet 307

Changing Sea Levels 311

Part 4. The Atmosphere: Earth's Gaseous Envelope 319

11. The Atmosphere 321

The Habitable Planet 322

Composition and Structure of Our Atmosphere 325

Moisture in the Atmosphere 335

The Atmosphere in the Earth System 343

12. Wind and Weather Systems

Why Air Moves 350

Global Air Circulation 355

Regional Wind and Weather Systems 360

Local WInd and Weather Systems 364

Severe Weather 365

Weather and the Earth System 373

13. the Climate System 379

Earth's Climate System 380

Evidence of Climate Change 381

Earth's Past CLimates 392

Why Climates CHange 400

Feedbacks and Complexity in Earth's Climate System 408

Part 5. The Biosphere: Life on Earth

14. Life, Death and Evolution 417

What is Life? An Overview of Basic Biological Processes 418

Life: A Planetary Perspective 424

Evolution: the History of Life 431

Extinction: The History of Death 442

15. Ecosystems, Biomes, and Cycles of Life 449

Energy and Matter in Ecosystems 450

Global Cycles of Life 459

Earth's Major Ecosystems 474

16. Populations, Communities, and Change 487

Populations 488

Communities 492

Biodiversity 502

Part 6. The Anthroposphere: Humans and the Earth System 517

17. The Resource Cycle 519

Resources from the Earth System 520

Renewable Resources: Seeking Balance 526

Limits to Growth 537

18. Mineral and Energy Resources 541

Nonrenewable Resources: Closing the Cycle 542

Mineral Resources 542

Energy Resources 551

19. The Changing Earth System 473

Understanding Anthropogenic Change 574

Human Impacts on the Earth System 577

Anthropogenic Role in Global Climate Change 592

Anthroposphere: Humans and Earth System Change 599

The overall structure of the text more clearly reflects the spheres of the Earth system.
  • "A Closer Look" focuses on applications and more in-depth explorations of topics.
  • Systems approach connects all the processes of earth sciences into a "holistic" approach so students learn how these are connected.