- Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math; 2 edition (September 18, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0077270401
- ISBN-13: 978-0077270407
- Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 0.8 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Exploring Geology 2nd Edition
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First, I must applaud the authors for taking a new approach to text design. This book is unlike any I used in grade school or previous college classes. In past classes we would have a text book that was heavy in words and lacking in illustration. This book attempts to give a lesson with every page turn.
Every spread is a two-page lesson. The top of the left page will ask a question, "How do waves form and propagate?", which is followed by a very weak and meaningless paragraph that elaborates on the initial question. Throughout the spread there are a series of sub-questions: "A: What is an Ocean Wave and How is the Size of a Wave Described?", "B: How Do Waves Propagate Across the Water?", "C: How Do Waves Form and What Happens When They Reach Shallow Water?" Under each of these sub-questions, which generally total three or four sub-questions per spread, are detailed and beautiful images. Those images are the main conveyor of information in the book, it seems, since it is rare to find text not associated with an image. Rather than explaining a concept in the form of paragraphs, this book is loaded with arrows and captions, pointing to certain things on the page and just telling you about that feature. A single sub-question might have one to six images listed below it, and each of those images might have one to four captions explaining different things. At the end of the spread, in the lower-right corner, there is normally a small box that says, "Before you leave this page be able to...", then it lists things like, "Draw a map and identify this", "Summarize this", "Describe that". Sadly, the content in the spread is just enough to summarize or describe something with no depth or detail.
That approach might be great for some but I find myself reading the text less and staring at pictures more. The layout, for me, is disorienting. I have a hard time knowing where to start and what I should read. Sometimes, the order in which your supposed to read the captions will move in directions not natural to English reading, like, describing a process in order, but needing to read that order from right to left. Why not reverse the image and read left to right? I don't know... but there's no shortage of disjointed caption flow in this book.
The captions themselves are pretty low in information and I think this is the main flaw with the design of the book. Because this book has committed itself to providing a number of images and teaching a lesson in a two-page spread, they've greatly reduced the space in which captions can be typed. It feels that much of the information I previously knew about some of these topics just isn't adequately covered in the captions. In a high school geology class, we would learn and identify nearly every rock and mineral possible; in this text, it simply says, "Common X", and proceeds to show a picture of a dozen images of minerals or rock, with a two sentence description of each.
It's just disappointing how lacking the content actually is. This book attempts to cover topics ranging from the nature of geology, geological features and hazards to geological time, the seafloor and mountains, along with weather and its effects on geology. There is even a chapter on the geology of other planets within our solar system. That's a lot of ground to cover in 500 pages, and this book certainly misses the mark when half of every page is simply an image. There are about 20 spreads actually devoted to specific minerals and rocks, and the attributes used to classify each, and that totals to a few dozen captions that briefly talk about the mineral. FWIW, There are almost 300 spreads in the book.
My last complaint is the physical size of the book. The book measures nearly 11" wide and 11" tall. This book is definitely not considerate of studying in bed since, when open, you have an almost two-foot wide book that has little rigidity with its weak glue binding and light-weight pages. If you like laying on your back, knees bent, with your book resting against your thighs then you'll hate it, too. The book is very floppy and almost forces you to use it on a hard surface. Remember those days of opening a book in one hand and paging through a few pages just to review some content? Not here! This book, when held in one hand, nearly wraps around and dangles downward, edges almost touching. Even holding it in two hands is difficult since either the middle sags or the outer edges droop. If being used with a laptop front-and-center, the book is difficult to read. The text in the captions is too small to be read 24" away. It's almost easier to have your laptop sitting way off to the side and have your text book directly in front of you. Definitely not a multi-taskers friend.
In short, I really wanted to like this book. I was eager to try a new layout and I was left wanting what was tried and true. This book is gorgeous and the full color images throughout are beautiful to look at; unfortunately, they occupy too much space on the page and leave little room for text descriptions. I found the information to be very inadequate and it is just enough to wet one's feet in the world of Geological studies. This book, had I been new to the content, would not have pulled me in. Largely dissatisfied but I will certainly keep it for my son so he can look at the pictures and, one day, maybe learn a thing or two about how the world works. And when I say, "thing or two", I literally mean "thing or two" since most captions are a sentence or two long.
Just needed some extra credit hours to graduate; never took a geography class in college,
so this is a great book for a beginner with a lot of detailed pictures and is easy to follow.
The book was in perfect condition too.