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Essentials of Geology

Essentials of Geology

13th Edition

Frederick Lutgens, Edward Tarbuck, Dennis Tasa

Mar 2017, Hardback, 608 pages
ISBN13: 9780134446622
ISBN10: 0134446623
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For introductory physical geology courses.

Using dynamic media to bring geology to life

From the renowned Lutgens/Tarbuck/Tasa team, the 13th Edition of Essentials of Geology continues to elevate the text’s readability, illustrations, and focus on basic principles. This revision incorporates a structured learning path and reliable, consistent framework for mastering the chapter concepts. With a fully integrated mobile media program that includes new Mobile Field Trip and Project Condor quadcopter videos as well as new animations and videos, this edition provides a unique, interactive, and engaging learning experience for readers.

Also available with Mastering Geology

Mastering™ Geology is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with this text to engage students and improve results. Interactive, self-paced tutorials provide individualized coaching to help students stay on track. With a wide range of activities available, students can actively learn, understand, and retain even the most difficult concepts.


Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; Mastering Geology does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with Mastering Geology, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.


If you would like to purchase both the physical text and Mastering Geology, search for:


0134663772 / 9780134663777 Essentials of Geology Plus Mastering Geology with eText -- Access Card Package

Package consists of:

  • 0134446623 / 9780134446622 Essentials of Geology
  • 0134609042 / 9780134609041 Mastering Geology with Pearson eText -- Standalone Access Card -- for Essentials of Geology

1. An Introduction to Geology

2. Plate Tectonics: A Scientific Revolution Unfolds

3. Matter and Minerals

4. Igneous Rocks and Intrusive Activity

5. Volcanoes and Volcanic Hazards

6. Weathering and Soils

7. Sedimentary Rocks

8. Metamorphism and Metamorphic Rocks

9. Earthquakes and Earth’s Interior

10. Origin and Evolution of the Ocean Floor

11. Crustal Deformation and Mountain Building

12. Mass Movement on Slopes: The Work of Gravity

13. Running Water

14. Groundwater

15. Glaciers and Glaciation

16. Deserts and Wind

17. Shorelines

18. Geologic Time

19. Earth’s Evolution Through Geologic Time

20. Global Climate Change

Appendix: Metric and English Units Compared

About the book

Teach with an active learning path

  • A four-part learning path facilitates active learning, allowing students to focus on important ideas and pause to assess their progress at frequent intervals:
  • Focus on Concepts are numbered learning objectives that correspond to each major section of the chapter and identify the knowledge and skills that students should master by the end of the chapter. This feature helps students prioritize key concepts.
  • Concept Checks. Within each chapter, every major section concludes with Concept Checks that allow students to monitor their understanding of significant facts and ideas.
  • Concepts in Review is an end-of-chapter feature that coordinates with Focus on Concepts. This feature provides a concise overview of key ideas by using photos, diagrams, and questions that test students’ understanding of core concepts.
  • Give It Some Thought questions and problems, relating back to each chapter’s learning objectives, challenge learners by involving them in activities that require higher-order thinking skills such as synthesis, analysis, and application.

New authorship

  • NEW! Two new authors, Scott Linneman (Western Washington University) and Callan Bentley (Northern Virginia Community College), have participated as contributing authors to the 13th edition.
    • Linneman provided many thoughtful suggestions and ideas throughout the text and was responsible for revising Chapter 12: Mass Movement on Slopes: The Work of Gravity. Linneman is an award-winning Professor of Geology and Science Education and director of the Honors Program at Western Washington University in Bellingham.
    • Bentley is Professor of Geology at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, where he has been honored many times as an outstanding teacher. He is a frequent contributor to EARTH magazine and is author of the popular geology blog Mountain Beltway. Bentley assisted with the revision of Chapter 11: Crustal Deformation and Mountain Building and was responsible for preparing the SmartFigure Tutorials that appear throughout the text. As students take advantage of these outstanding learning aids, they will hear his voice explaining the ideas.

Current geology topics straight from the headlines

  • UPDATED! The treatment of energy resources, including expanded discussion of emissions from coal combustion and changes in oil and gas production due to fracking.
  • UPDATED! 2015 Nepal earthquake has been added as an example of a landslide-triggering event.
  • NEW! “Did You Know” about the 2013 Bingham Canyon Copper Mine landslide has been added.
  • UPDATED! The vanishing wetlands section has been updated with the loss of wetlands from the Mississippi delta and coastal Louisiana.
  • NEW! A new section has been added on the impact of prolonged drought on groundwater resources.
  • UPDATED! Superstorm Sandy is used as an example of a decision to change how coastal land is used in Staten Island.
  • NEW! Discussion on the USGS Community Internet Intensity Map project has been included.
  • UPDATED! Rising CO2 Levels has been updated to include current data on tropical deforestation.
  • UPDATED! Chapter 20, Global Climate Change, has been updated to reflect the 2013 IPCC report.
  • NEW! and UPDATED! Dozens of figures are new or have been redrawn by the gifted and highly respected geoscience illustrator Dennis Tasa. Many new and revised figures result in a visual program that is clear and easy to understand.

Engage students with a dynamic art program

  • Illustrations by Dennis Tasa, a gifted artist and respected geoscience illustrator, provide a dynamic visual story of geology. Cutting edge photorealism and photo comparisons guide students more clearly than ever before.
  • Geologist Sketches are incorporated into the text’s visual program, with photographs side-by-side hand “sketch” versions of the same image. This visual feature encourages students to see the world through the eyes of a professional geologist.

Personalize learning with Mastering Geology

Mastering™ Geology is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with this text to engage students and improve results. Interactive, self-paced coaching activities provide individualized coaching to help students stay on track. With a wide range of activities available, students can actively learn, understand, and retain even the most difficult concepts.

  • Pre-Lecture Reading Quizzes ensure that students complete the assigned reading before class and stay on track with reading assignments. Reading Quizzes are 100% mobile ready and can be completed by students on smartphones and tablets.
  • Encounter Activities provide rich, interactive explorations of geology and earth science concepts using KMZ media files from Google Earth™. Dynamic assessment questions–related to core geology concepts–include hints and specific wrong-answer feedback to help coach students towards mastery of the concepts while improving their geospatial reasoning skills.
  • Geoscience Animations illuminate the most difficult-to-visualize topics from across the physical geosciences, such as solar system formation, the hydrologic cycle, plate tectonics, glacial advance and retreat, global warming, and more. The animation activities include audio narration, a text transcript, and assignable questions with specific wrong-answer feedback.
  • GeoTutor Activities help students master the most challenging geology concepts with highly visual, data-rich, kinesthetic activities focused on critical thinking and the application of core geoscience concepts.
  • UPDATED! SmartFigures. The 13th edition now incorporates mobile Quick Response (QR) code media links to over 200 videos and animations, giving readers immediate access to five types of dynamic media to help visualize physical processes and concepts. SmartFigures extend the print book to bring geology to life, are available in the Mastering Geology Study Area and for assignment with quizzes, and are also linked from the eText.
  • NEW! SmartFigure Mobile Field Trips take students to iconic geologic locations as they accompany geologist—pilot—photographer—author Michael Collier in the air and on the ground. Students can see and learn about iconic locations around North America and beyond that relate to concepts in the chapter. New Mobile Field Trips for the 13th edition include:
    • Formation of a Water Gap
    • Ice Sculpts Yosemite
    • Fire and Ice Land
    • Dendrochronology
    • Desert Geomorphology
  • NEW! Project Condor Videos capture stunning footage of the Mountain West region with a quadcopter and a GoPro camera. Videos include annotation, sketching, and narration to help students learn about monoclines, streams, terraces, and so much more.
  • UPDATED! GigaPan Activities allow students to take advantage of a virtual field experience and perform detailed image analysis using ultra high-resolution photographic technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University in conjunction with NASA.
  • UPDATED! SmartFigure Animations. SmartFigure Animations are brief videos, created by text illustrator Dennis Tasa that animate a process or concept depicted in the textbook’s figures. This technology allows students to view moving figures rather than static art to depict how a geologic process truly moves throughout time.
  • SmartFigure Videos. These short video clips help illustrate such diverse subjects as mineral properties and the structure of ice sheets.
  • SmartFigure Tutorial Videos present students with a 3- to 4-minute feature (mini-lesson) prepared and narrated by Professor Callan Bentley. Each lesson examines and explains the concepts illustrated by the figure. With over 100 SmartFigure Tutorials inside the text, students have a multitude of ways to enjoy art that teaches.
  • UPDATED! MapMaster. GIS-inspired interactive map activities help to enhance students’ geographic literacy and spatial reasoning skills.
  • Learning Catalytics™ helps you generate class discussion, customize your lecture, and promote peer-to-peer learning with real-time analytics. As a student response tool, Learning Catalytics uses students’ smartphones, tablets, or laptops to engage them in more interactive tasks and thinking.
    • NEW! Upload a full PowerPoint® deck for easy creation of slide questions
    • NEW! Team names are no longer case sensitive
    • Help your students develop critical thinking skills
    • Monitor responses to find out where your students are struggling
    • Rely on real-time data to adjust your teaching strategy
    • Automatically group students for discussion, teamwork, and peer-to-peer learning
  • Dynamic Study Modules help students study effectively on their own by continuously assessing their activity and performance in real time. Here's how it works: students complete a set of questions with a unique answer format that also asks them to indicate their confidence level. Questions repeat until the student can answer them all correctly and confidently. Once completed, Dynamic Study Modules explain the concept using materials from the text. These are available as graded assignments prior to class, and accessible on smartphones, tablets, and computers. NEW! Instructors can now remove questions from Dynamic Study Modules to better fit their course.
  • NEW! An eText upgrade option to Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, 2nd Edition, by Michael Mann and Lee Kump. In just over 200 pages, this text presents and expands upon the essential findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on the risk of climate change brought on by humans, in a visually stunning way. Scientific findings that provide validity to the implications of climate change are presented in clear-cut graphic elements, striking images, and understandable analogies. The 2nd Edition covers the latest climate change data and scientific consensus from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report and integrates mobile media links to online media. The text is available in various eText formats, including an eText upgrade option from Mastering Geology courses.
  • NEW! eText 2.0 optimized for mobile.
    • eText 2.0 mobile app offers offline access and can be downloaded for most iOS and Android phones/tablets from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
    • Seamlessly integrated videos and other rich media.
    • Accessible (screen-reader ready).
    • Configurable reading settings, including resizable type and night reading mode.
    • Instructor and student note-taking, highlighting, bookmarking, and search.

Fred Lutgens and Ed Tarbuck have been good friends and colleagues since 1970. Between them, they have more than 57 years of experience teaching geology to undergraduates, and both have been recognized with awards as excellent and inspiring professors. They share a special interest in introducing geology to beginning students and a belief in the value of field experiences for students of all levels.

Lutgens and Tarbuck published their first college text, Earth Science, in 1976. That book, winner of the McGuffy Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association, is now going into its 15th edition. In 1983, as the 1st edition of Earth was being prepared, gifted geology illustrator Dennis Tasa joined the author team. Since then the three have collaborated on more than twenty projects. Not only do Tarbuck, Lutgens, and Tasa work well together creatively; they also enjoy spending time in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Tasa’s New Mexico studio.

Tarbuck enjoys downhill skiing in Colorado, fly fishing near his childhood home in Northern Minnesota, and spending time in the Cascades. Lutgens is an avid runner, and when he can make the time, truly enjoys hiking the canyons of the Colorado Plateau. Although Lutgens and Tarbuck think alike on many issues, they don’t agree on everything. Lutgens is devoted to jazz and classical music, whereas Tarbuck prefers pop artists or a good country station.