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Physical Geology

Physical Geology is a comprehensive introductory text on the physical aspects of geology, including rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciation, groundwater, streams, coasts, mass wasting, climate change, planetary geology and much more. It has a strong emphasis on examples from western Canada, especially British Columbia, and also includes a chapter devoted to the geological history of western Canada. The book is a collaboration of faculty from Earth Science departments at Universities and Colleges across British Columbia and elsewhere.

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Isabelle SacramentoGrilo
2 years ago
Part2:A wonderful thing that is missing in this text is animations, something without which it’s very difficult to teach 3-dimentional concepts in Geology, such as geological cross sections of things that move, like underwater mountain ridges or subduction zones. Yes, the resource presents clear learning objectives (outcomes) at the beginning of every chapter. And the organization of this textbook is coherent to the students. For the most part, best practices are utilized to ensure that students will grasp concepts without much fuss. It’s simple and easy to navigate through. Each chapter is subdivided in sections and each section is its own web page. There are arrows to go back and forth (much like a Kindle). At the end of each chapter there is a table of topics that are summarized in order. At the end of that there are questions for review. In terms of effective ancillary materials, there are some adequate features. There is a section of questions for review at the end of each chapter. These questions are essay or short answer questions, typically 10-15 questions per chapter. Appendix 2 has the answers to these. Further, within the chapters there are also exercises about a specific concept, usually with some graphics or images, and often application problems of the sort “you’re the chief geologist and…”, which allow students to apply what they just learnt. Appendix 3 has the answers to these as well. There is also a glossary at the end. I think it would be helpful to, in addition to all this, have a section of matching and multiple choice questions for every chapter, as this would be equivalent to what they typically see in lower division GE class exams. The resource is searchable and has often links to other educational sites. It is, for the most part, self-contained. There are links to like the pages both in Twitter and Facebook. Editorial Aspects: this resource is free of grammatical, spelling, usage, and typographical errors, as far as I could see. It may be said that it’s mostly presented in a clear style, but it may not be said that it’s presented in an engaging style. A science textbook is a bit difficult for most students, and so I would write it with a bit more flair. There should be thoughtful questions asked throughout the text, as well as current affairs discussed a bit more. Chapters are short overall. I think that they adhere to effective principles of design, for the most part. Colours, fonts, and typography are consistent throughout. But it’s not the most attractive text I’ve seen, not the best way to advertise the subject, in my submission. Like I mentioned, images and graphs should be bigger. Once again, we want students to be engaged and interested. Yes, this resource includes conventional editorial features, like a table of contents, glossary, citations, and further references. There are no animations that I could see, just graphs, tables, and images. Animations would be wonderful in a course like this. There’s not much audio, as far as I could see. There may be links to websites that may contain audio. Usability: I believe this resource is compatible with standard available hardware/software in university campuses. I think students will have no trouble accessing it or printing it. It’s also downloadable in a variety of electronic formats, which is really cool. The user interface of this text does not explicitly inform the user of how to interact with and navigate the resource. I think this is because it’s already straight-forward to do it. There is an arrow to go back, another to go forward, and a list of contents on the side. I also don’t think the resource can be easily annotated by students or instructors. I don’t see anywhere in the text where that can take place, but I could be mistaken, I suppose.
Isabelle SacramentoGrilo
2 years ago
Part 1: This title is, unfortunately, inadequate for my class. It’s also one of very few Earth Science textbooks that I could consider from MERLOT. It’s intriguingly the most comprehensive book that I found in the list. I’m afraid I could not consider adopting it for my class. Even though it’s comprehensive (with 22 chapters), relative to what else I found in this website, it’s still not quite a complete textbook, like the one I’m using presently in myclass. It treats some subjects with too much detail and others with not enough. Review: Subject Matter: This book is a bit dry. There are not too many bells and whistles to call students’ attention. It’s also not completely adequate for the level of students I have for this course (GEOL 104 - freshman, lower division class), as it appears it’s a bit too advanced in many topics. On the other hand, it also does not cover many topics that I do in the detail to which I think students should be exposed. For example, there’;’s not much coverage on the planets of the Solar System in the Astronomy chapter (this chapter is actually called Origin of Earth and the Solar System). If I were to revise this textbook, I would expand most chapters and I would also add a lot more illustrations and photos. Chapters are for the most part short (which I reckon students wouldn’t mind…). For example, I would add much more on the chapter on Plate Tectonics, as this is critical to understand just about all aspects of Earth science and geology in general. It’s a very paltry chapter, it looks like. This is what makes or breaks a Geology textbook in my view. I’m afraid the focus of this text is the geology of Canada, especially western Canada, and this is not, in my submission, adequate or pertinent for everybody else in the world. A physical geology text should not show preference for any one given country. The author of the book is from British Columbia and currently teaches at Thompson Rivers University. The content is accurate, error-free for the most part, but not unbiased. This is because the focus is on Canada. This resource does not adequately cover my course with sufficient depth relative to what I cover. It does cover other things in much more detail, like, for instance, from chapter 10 - the discussion of apparent polar wandering, or chapter 5 – the coverage of the soils of Canada, or the whole of chapter 21 - the coverage of the geological history of Canada. I don’t think this is particularly necessary for a course like this one. This resource also does not use sufficient examples in all subject matters, not from all over the world anyway. It would have been nice, for instance, in chapter 8 – Geologic Time to have analysis of the evolution of life on Earth and associated topics such as mass extinctions and mass radiations. The resource does use for the most part a clear, consistent terminology to present the concepts. It also reflects current knowledge of the subject matter. The author did go into topics that aren’t really that current these days, but could help explain tectonic theory, like the geosyncline theory on chapter 10. Unfortunately, there no chapter on Weather and Climate, as this would be nice to cover before one jumps straight into Climate Change – chapter 19. This chapter is well developed but without the help of basic weather science. The author could have combined chapters 5 and 6 – Sedimentary Rocks and Weathering and Soil – into one chapter, and then add another chapter on Meteorology or weather science. Instructional Design: This resource may not always present the material at appropriate levels for an undergraduate class. But the coverage is mostly short in all chapters, it seems. The resource also considers different learning styles for the most part (visual and textual). There are diagrams, graphs, photos, and text. There are captions for almost all images. Most images are referenced too. A minor point is that we have to click on all images to see the larger version.
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