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Earth's Evolving Systems: The History of Planet Earth

Author(s): Ronald E. Martin, University of Delaware
  • ISBN-13: 9781449648909
  • Product With Access Code    700 pages      © 2013
Price: $208.95 US List
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Every new copy of Earth's Evolving Systems includes access to the Student Companion Website including access to The Layered Earth software

Earth's Evolving Systems: The History of Planet Earth
is intended as an introductory text that examines the evolution of the Earth and its life from a systems point of view.  The text covers major topics like the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere, and discusses how these systems interacted with each other and evolved through geologic time. The author takes care to integrate the current state of our Earth systems with those of the past in an effort to develop students' interests in Earth system in general. It begins by examining the basics of Earth systems, including discussions of sedimentation, evolution, stratigraphy, and plate tectonics. Part Two looks at the beginning of time with the origin of the Earth and discusses its early evolution, through the origin of life and its evolution to multiculluraity. The third section goes on to cover the Paleozoic through the Neogene eras, discussing topics such as tectonics, mountain building, sea level, climate, life, and mass extinctions in each era. The final part moves on to the modern world, discussing the interactions between humans and Earth systems, with an emphasis on the climatic system.

The Layered Earth integrates your Earth Science curriculum with the latest technology to prepare your students for the skills they'll need in the 21st Century. In a dynamic environment, through step-by-step computer explorations, activities and resources, you'll guide your students through a geological journey that will rock their world. View this brief video overview to learn more about The Layered Earth, then watch more helpful videos about various features.

Preview chapters 1 & 4 from the Sample Materials tab.

Features & Benefits

  • Presents the Earth as a continuously evolving and dynamic planet whose history consists of a succession of vastly different worlds very much unlike our modern Earth.
  • Discusses the scientific method in Chapter 1, emphasizing how historical geology differs from the standard  "scientific method" presented as the paradigm of experimental sciences and of all science.
  • Bridges traditional historical geology texts by discussing historical information in the context of the interaction and integration of Earth systems through geologic time by using the tectonic (Wilson) cycle as a unifying theme.
  • Concentrates on North America but offers a global perspective on Earth systems on processes such as orogenesis, seaways, and ocean circulation, the evolution of life, and mass extinction.
  • Discusses rapid climate change and anthropogenic impacts in the context of a continuously evolving Earth whose environments are now being altered by anthropogenic climate change.
  • End-of-chapter materials include: general review questions, more challenging "Food for Thought" questions, key terms listing, and a "Sources and Further Readings" section.
  • Boxes throughout the text highlight interesting bits of related information, unusual occurrences, or elaborates on material presented in the text.

Applicable Courses

Earth's Evolving Systems: The History of Planet Earth is ideal for the introductory geology/Earth systems course offered at the Freshman/Sophomore level.

Part  1  Earth Systems: Their Nature and Their Study
  Chapter  1  Introduction: How Do We Study the Earth’s Systems?
  Chapter  2  Earth Systems: Processes and Interactions
  Chapter  3  Sedimentary Rocks, Sedimentary Environments, and Fossils
  Chapter  4  Evolution and Extinction
  Chapter  5  Time and Stratigraphy
  Chapter  6  Plate Tectonics
Part  2  The Origin and Early Evolution of Earth’s Systems
  Chapter  7  An Extraordinary Beginning: The Hadean and Archean
  Chapter  8  The Origins of Life
  Chapter  9  The Proterozoic: Life Becomes a Geologic Force
  Chapter  10  Life’s Big Bang: The Origins of Multicellular Animals
Part  3  The Phanerozoic: Toward the Modern World
  Chapter  11  The Early-to-Middle Paleozoic World
  Chapter  12  The Middle-to-Late Paleozoic World
  Chapter  13  The Mesozoic Era
  Chapter  14  The Paleogene
  Chapter  15  The Neogene: The Iceman Cometh
Part  4  Humans and the Environment
  Chapter  16  Rapid Climate Change During the Holocene
  Chapter  17  Humans and the Earth’s Systems: Past, Present, and Future
  Chapter  18  Days of Future Past: Science, Society, and the Nature of Nature

Ronald E. Martin-University of Delaware

Ron Martin is Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Delaware. He received his B.S. degree in Geology from Bowling Green State University, M.S. from the University of Florida, and the Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley. 

His present research focuses on the evolution of plankton and the biosphere, marine-terrestrial interactions, and the formation of fossil assemblages, especially those of microfossils, and their use in deciphering past climate and sea-level change; microfossils as bioindicators of ecosystem health; and geoarchaeology. 

He worked as a biostratigrapher for Unocal in Houston prior to coming to Delaware in 1985. He has served as Associate Editor of Palaios, Editor of the Journal of Foraminiferal Research, President of the North American Micropaleontological Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), and is the author of One Long Experiment: Scale and Process in Earth History (Columbia University Press), Taphonomy: A Process Approach (Cambridge, UK), and editor of Environmental Micropaleontology: The Application of Microfossils to Environmental Geology (Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press, NY). He teaches courses in paleontology, stratigraphy, and Earth systems, and has been nominated for the University of Delaware excellence in Teaching Award several times.

Additional Titles by this Author
  • Chapter 1
    Preview Chapter 1 of Earth`s Evolving Systems!
  • Chapter 4
    Preview Chapter 4 of Earth`s Evolving Systems!

The following instructor resources are available to qualified instructors for download

ISBN-13: 9781449648909

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