Higher Education

Earth Lab: Exploring the Earth Sciences, 3rd Edition

  • Claudia Owen University of Oregon
  • Diane Pirie Florida International University
  • Grenville Draper Florida International University
  • ISBN-10: 053873700X  |  ISBN-13: 9780538737005
  • 480 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2006, 2001
  • © 2011 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $139.50
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Utilizing graphs and simple calculations, this clearly written lab manual complements the study of earth science or physical geology. Engaging activities are designed to help students develop data-gathering skills (e.g., mineral and rock identification) and data-analysis skills. Students will learn how to understand aerial and satellite images; to perceive the importance of stratigraphic columns, geologic sections, and seismic waves; and more.

Features and Benefits

  • For each lab, the wide selection of activities provides instructors with more than enough options to design their own labs based on their own particular resources and preferences.
  • With the help of an extensive visual imagery, in conjunction with helpful and innovative identification mazes, students learn to identify a variety of minerals and rocks. Beyond this students are encouraged to grasp as much as possible about the story told by a rock.
  • The book covers traditional skills expected in introductory geology lab books, but also includes many simple innovative hands-on activities that enhance learning and get students involved.
  • With easily available materials students create a model of an area to develop an understanding of how they can effectively combine data-gathering and analysis to deduce the area's geology.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to Plates and Maps.
2. Minerals.
3. Igneous Rocks.
4. Sedimentary Rocks.
5. Metamorphic Rocks.
6. Topographic Maps.
7. Geologic Time and History.
8. Geologic Maps and Structures.
9. Plate Tectonics.
10. Earthquakes and Seismology.
11. Landslides and Mass Movements.
12. Streams and Rivers.
13. Groundwater and Karst Topography
14. Oceans and Shorelines
15. Atmosphere, Climate, and Climate Change.
16. Weather.
17. Glaciers and Glaciation.
18. Deserts and Arid Landscapes.

What's New

  • The third edition includes basic coverage of all concepts needed to teach any introductory earth science laboratory. Concepts are presented in a user friendly format and allowing for each instructor's individual style and approach.
  • Definitions and carefully selected flow charts, diagrams, maps, and photos have all been updated and refined to aid student comprehension.
  • Clear, concise but attractive tables and rock identification mazes demonstrating the scientific method through student use as an accompaniment to easily followed instructions for exercises.
  • Upgraded and new art in this edition coupled with a more compact approach to topics results in a briefer, more useful manual that remains engaging to the student.
  • New exercises and approaches to keep content fresh and stimulating; providing hands-on student participation in most chapters, allowing interest to develop naturally in areas that may be new to readers.
  • Incorporation of reviewer and user comments from the perspective of laboratory processes, instruction, clarity, and usefulness.
  • Practical renovation of chapter layout, organization, and planning over past editions resulting in a more pragmatic but pleasing approach to chapter content.
  • Students will spend more time handling and interpreting samples, or even creating their own models of geological processes.

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: Text + CourseMate, 1 term (6 months) Printed Access Card + Earth Lab: Exploring the Earth Sciences, 3rd

ISBN-10: 1305418697 | ISBN-13: 9781305418691

List Price = $265.95  | CengageBrain Price = $265.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $196.75

This Bundle Includes:

  • EARTH2
    List Price = $84.95  | CengageBrain Price = $84.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $63.75
  • Earth Lab: Exploring the Earth Sciences
    List Price = $185.95  | CengageBrain Price = $185.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $139.50


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 0538737026 | ISBN-13: 9780538737029)

Newly revised by Claudia Owen, Diane Pirie, and Grenville Draper, the Instructor's Manual outlines the materials needed for each exercise, suggested answers to student response questions, and completed tables and graphing exercises.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Claudia Owen

Claudia Owen is the lead faculty member of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Lane Community College. She holds a B.S. in Geology from Stanford University, an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Geology from University of Washington. Claudia's interests rest in climate change, geological resources, and metamorphic rocks. At Lane Community College, she teaches introductory geology and environmental science courses such as Rocks and Minerals, Earth's Dynamic Interior, Terrestrial Environment, Atmospheric Environment, and Global Climate Change. She also teaches classes at University of Oregon in environmental geology, surface processes, and national park geology. Her work with students in lab courses she has taught for over 20 years has allowed her to explore her interest in science education through laboratory exercises. She began working on EARTH LAB with her co-authors, Diane and Gren, at Florida International University while teaching at the companion Biscayne Bay Campus where she headed the Geology program and taught a number of lecture and lab courses.

Diane Pirie

With a background in both Earth Sciences and Fine Arts, Diane Pirie's contribution to EARTH LAB is both practical, from the experience of teaching in laboratory settings, and artistic, with the incorporation of images, creative methods and approaches in working with content. The user friendly layout of labs results from her scientific methodology and the set up of the majority of the mineral photographs exclusively for EARTH LAB is an example of her use of art as a teaching vehicle. Pragmatic methods reinforced with attention to detail are the mainstay in her current position as Scientific Research Manager at Florida International University, as much as in many past laboratory and teaching positions. She has a B.A. from the University of South Florida and a B.S. from Florida International University.

Grenville Draper

Grenville Draper is a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Florida International University. He was previously the Department Chair and teaches Introduction to Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Geologic Maps, and Structural Geology at the undergraduate level and Tectonics, Caribbean Geology, and Ductile Deformation at the graduate level. His main research interests are in metamorphic geology, structural geology, and tectonics, particularly in the Caribbean region. Apart from EARTH LAB, he is the co-author and co-editor of four books and the author of over 70 research, review, and journalistic articles.