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The Great Courses: The Nature of Earth: An Introduction to Geology

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Jan 01, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Wherever you live or travel, geology is everywhere. Wouldn't you like to know how to read the rocks and landscape; how to make sense of debates over natural resources; and how to appreciate the deep time that governs a geologist's sweeping perspective? These 36 half-hour lectures are your initiation into the geological world that lies just outside your door. You'll be introduced to physical geology, the study of Earth's minerals, rocks, soils, and the processes that operate on them through time. No other science deals more practically with the world on which we live, telling us where to dig a well; when to add lime to soil; how gold, oil, and other valuable minerals are formed and where to find them; what kinds of structures are safest in an earthquake zone; and why some active volcanoes are deadlier than others - far deadlier. Your guide on this adventure is Professor John J. Renton, an award-winning educator at West Virginia University, and a widely respected expert on the geology of coal. He is easy to follow, funny, and extremely well organized, with a gift for picking simple analogies that make complicated concepts clear and memorable. Though you may never become a geologist, you'll find yourself drawing on the lessons you've learned in this course whenever you experience a new beach, mountain range, or winding country road. You'll see the world that passes you by differently, understanding it better, and appreciating it more.

Product Details

  • Format: DVD
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Studio: The Teaching Company
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1598032216
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,255 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Wilcox on March 3, 2010
I have viewed several of the video sets from the Great Courses series; frankly, most of them put me to sleep in a hurry.

Dr John Renton, from West Virginia University, is another story, though: He is personable, knows his material extremely well, and presents it in a manner that engages the viewer. He seems quite comfortable in front of the camera and has virtually none of the annoying mannerisms that some other Great Courses presenters have. He seems to be the kind of instructor whose class one really would want to attend. WVU has a winner here!

The topics are covered well, the graphics are quite good, and the organization is quite good.

I plan to do some reading about some of the topics and then view the videos again--the course is that good.

I have not seen the printed text--only the DVD.

I don't know what grade Dr Renton would give me, but I give him an A+.
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Our world is a vibrant, active, place. Wherever you go, from the summit of Everest to the depths of the Mariana Trench, you will find evidence of ongoing change. It's the nature of these changes that form the basis for this far ranging course. Starting out with the basics, Prof. John Renton gives you a brief overview of Earth's place in the Universe, our Galaxy and our Solar System. Then, getting more "down to Earth" Renton covers Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics, how to find and identify different minerals and various kinds of rocks. Prof. Renton is a wonderful teacher, personable and sometimes humorous, introducing the student to various concepts of geology: mass wasting, soil formation, how erosion shapes the landscape and the effects of streams, ice and atmosphere on solid rock. For me the lectures on volcanos, earthquakes and the formation of mountains were outstanding. With 36 lectures Renton covers all these subjects and more in a thorough, entertaining way.
One of the benefits of the Great Courses is the ability to revisit the course, or just individual lectures, for a refresher on Geology. By getting the DVDs, and streaming, I can watch any of my courses on either my portable DVD player or on my iPad whenever I want to. I highly recommend the product to anyone with an interest in the Earth and how it works.

Last Ranger
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I just started this course and find it very informative. Lots of good information and well presented. The only exception I have, and it is a BIG exception for me, is that the videos do not have any captions or subtitles. It seems like the publisher, The Teaching Company, does not care about people who are deaf, hard of hearing or just like the learning reinforcement that comes from reading and hearing at the same time. What a shame.
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I paid $100.00 for the set I had purchased. In my opinion, it was money well spent. Mr. Renton is a very likeable lecturer. Quite entertaining at times, never boring and explains subject matter in easily related to language and examples. Anyone interested in geology will find something of interest in this course.
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6 dvd's of lectures on American geological formations, It is well explained. Information is fairly in depth. I liked it.
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Always wanted to study Geology, but it wasn't a required course as I majored in Business. These videos will be helpful in understanding the planet earth, will enjoy them in the evenings this summer.
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