Earth is a very small part of a vast universe, but it is our home. It provides the resources that support our modem society and the ingredients necessary to maintain life. Therefore, a knowledge and understanding of our planet is critical to our social well being and indeed, vital to our survival.
In recent years, media reports have made us increasingly aware of our place in the universe and the forces at work in our physical environment. We are also beginning to learn that human interactions with natural systems can upset delicate balances. News stories inform us of new discoveries in the solar system and beyond. Daily reports remind us of the destruction caused by hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and landslides. We have been made aware of ozone depletion, potential global warming, and growing environmental concerns about the oceans. To comprehend, prepare for, and solve these and other concerns requires an awareness of how science is done and the scientific principles that influence our planet, its rocks, mountains, atmosphere, and oceans.
Earth Science, ninth edition, like its predecessors, is a college-level text designed for an introductory course that often has the same name as this text. It consists of four units that emphasize broad and up-to-date coverage of basic topics and principles in geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy. The book is intended to be a meaningful, non-technical survey for undergraduate students with little background in science. Usually these students are taking an Earth science class to meet a portion of their college's or university's general requirements.
In addition to being informative and up-to-date, a major goal of Earth Science is to meet the need of beginning students for a readable and user-friendly text, a book that is a highly usable "tool" for learning basic Earth science principles and concepts.