Higher Education

Fundamentals of Physical Geography, 1st Edition

  • James Petersen Texas State University, San Marcos
  • Dorothy Sack Ohio University
  • Robert E. Gabler Western Illinois University
  • ISBN-10: 0538734639  |  ISBN-13: 9780538734639
  • 496 Pages
  • © 2011 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $135.75
  • Newer Edition Available
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FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY uses the combined expertise of three respected geographers to show how Earth's physical geography impacts humans, and how humans impact Earth's physical geography. The text emphasizes three essential themes to demonstrate the major roles for the discipline—Geography from a Physical Science perspective, Geography from a Spatial perspective, and Geography from an Environmental perspective. With a focus on examining relationships and processes among Earth systems, this text helps students understand like never before how the various systems interrelate and how humans are an integral aspect of geography. The human-environment relationship and the importance of conservation are prevalent themes. This new title offers thorough coverage of physical geography in a concise, well-organized structure, making it feasible to cover all topics in a one-semester course, and approachable for all students, especially those who are new to the concepts presented herein.

Features and Benefits

  • The text provides a concise yet complete introduction to the science of geosystems with strong thematic integration. The authors drive an overall theme of the "impact of earth on humans, and humans on the earth." This theme will resonate because of the increasing emphasis on and popularity of sustainability that is of interest to both professors and students.
  • A strong visual presentation in art, maps, story spreads, explanatory figures, and online resources reinforces geography as the "spatial science," motivates students, and provides visual support to concepts. Many photographs are accompanied by location maps for spatial context.
  • High interest coverage, such as recent issues, problems, and disasters provide exciting content but also strike a personal note to many readers. Issues and problems make concepts real and show students what can happen in their own backyards.
  • Map interpretations aid in cartographic understanding of the material. Google Earth activities teach geographic exploration using popular digital mapping software.
  • Critical thinking questions, which follow most captions, reinforce the emphasis on geography as a science.
  • FUNDAMENTALS OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY provides students with fascinating coverage of topics such as feedback mechanisms, GIS/GPS systems, and global climate change debate.
  • The book is accompanied by a dynamic collection of instructor and student resources, including the PowerLecture DVD, which reinforces the book's outstanding art program. PowerLecture includes all art and photos from book, in stepped and zoom form, plus videos, active figures, blank maps, instructor's manual and test bank, as well as a guide to the Google Earth activities from the book. The book is also supplemented by Active Earth Collection resources and ABC videos. See SUPPLEMENTS section.
  • The book is well supported by the Geography Resource Center (see SUPPLEMENTS section.)

Table of Contents

1. Physical Geography: Earth Systems and Environments.
2. Representations of Earth.
3. Earth-Sun Relationships and Energy Systems.
4. Atmosphere, Pressure, Winds, and Circulation.
5. Humidity, Condensation, and Precipitation.
6. Air Masses and Weather Systems.
7. Climate Classification; Tropical, Arid, and Mesothermal Climate Regions.
8. Microthermal, Polar, and Highland Climate Regions; Climate Change.
9. Biography and Soils.
10. Earth Materials and Plate Tectonics.
11. Volcanism and Tectonism.
12. Weathering and Mass Wasting.
13. Water Resources and Karst.
14. Stream Systems.
15. Arid Region Landforms and Eolian Systems.
16. Glacial Systems.
17. Coastal Systems.
Appendix A. SI Unit Conversions.
Appendix B. Maps and Imagery.
Appendix C. Climate Classification.
Appendix D. Soils.
Appendix E. Common Rocks.

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: Fundamentals of Physical Geography + Global Geoscience Watch Printed Access Card

ISBN-10: 1111490546  | ISBN-13: 9781111490546

List Price = $180.95  | CengageBrain Price = $180.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $135.76

This Bundle Includes:

  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
    List Price = $180.95  | CengageBrain Price = $180.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $135.75
  • Global Geoscience Watch, 1 term (6 months) Printed Access Card
    List Price = $24.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $18.00

Bundle: Fundamentals of Physical Geography + National Geographic Learning Reader: Water: Global Challenges and Policy of Freshwater Use (with eBook Printed Access Card)

ISBN-10:  1285157575 | ISBN-13:  9781285157573

List Price = $186.95  | CengageBrain Price = $186.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $140.75

This Bundle Includes:

  • Fundamentals of Physical Geography
    List Price = $180.95  | CengageBrain Price = $180.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $135.75
  • National Geographic Learning Reader: Water: Global Challenges and Policy of Freshwater Use
    List Price = $30.95  | CengageBrain Price = $30.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $23.00


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

Interactive eBook Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0840069898 | ISBN-13: 9780840069894)

List Price = $99.00  | CengageBrain Price = $99.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $99.00

Online Instructor's Manual with Test Bank  (ISBN-10: 0538498811 | ISBN-13: 9780538498814)

Student Supplements

Interactive eBook Instant Access Code  (ISBN-10: 0840069898 | ISBN-13: 9780840069894)

List Price = $99.00  | CengageBrain Price = $99.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $99.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

James Petersen

James F. Petersen is Professor of Geography at Southwest Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas. He is a broadly trained physical geographer with strong interests in geomorphology and Earth Science education. He enjoys writing about topics relating to physical geography for the public, particularly environmental interpretation, and has written a landform guidebook for Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in Central Texas, as well as several field guides. He is a strong supporter of geographic education, having served as president of the National Council for Geographic education in 2000 after more than 15 years of service to that organization. He also has written or served as a senior consultant for nationally published educational materials at levels from middle school through university, and he has done many workshops for geography teachers. Most recently, he co-edited a volume of the journal Geomorphology, a collection of papers dealing with education in geomorphology that represented the proceedings from the Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium. Two other recent works include the opening chapter for a book on the environmental history of San Antonio, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, and the role of field methods in geography education in the United States, for an international volume on the topic. He is the co-author of Essentials of Physical Geography, 8th Edition and Physical Geography, 9th Edition (both by Brooks/Cole.)

Dorothy Sack

Dorothy Sack, Professor of Geography at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, is a physical geographer who specializes in geomorphology. Her research emphasizes arid region landforms, including geomorphic evidence of paleolakes, which contributes to paleoclimate reconstruction. She has published research results in a variety of professional journals, edited volumes, and with the Utah Geological Survey. She also has research interests and publications on the history of geomorphology and the impact of off-road vehicles. Her work has been funded by the National Geographic Society, NSF, Association of American Geographers (AAG), American Chemical Society, and other organizations. She is active in professional organizations, having served as chair of the AAG Geomorphology Specialty Group, and several other offices for the AAG, Geological Society of America, and History of Earth Sciences Society. She enjoys teaching and research, and has received the Outstanding Teacher Award from Ohio University's College of Arts and Sciences. She is the co-author of Physical Geography, 9th Edition (Brooks/Cole).

Robert E. Gabler

Robert E. Gabler has nearly five decades of professional experience. He has taught for five years in public elementary and secondary schools, in addition to teaching geography at Hunter College, City of New York, Columbia University, and Western Illinois University. At times in his lengthy career at Western, he served as chairperson of the Department of Geography and Department of Geology, and University director of International Programs. He received three University Presidential Citations for Teaching Excellence and University Service, served two terms as chairperson of the Faculty Senate, edited the Bulletin of The Illinois Geographical Society, and authored numerous articles in state and national periodicals. He is a past president of the Illinois Geographical Society, former director of coordinators and past president of the National Council for Geographic Education, and the recipient of the NCGE George J. Miller Distinguished Service Award. During his tenure at Western, Dr. Gabler traveled widely throughout the United States, western and southern Europe, eastern Asia, and India, planning, organizing, and leading university exchange programs, conducting field research, and compiling extensive slide photograph files. His major publications include, editor: A HANDBOOK FOR GEOGRAPHY TEACHERS (Illinois Office of Public Instruction); co-author: FOLLETT ELEMENTARY SOCIAL STUDIES SERIES (Follett Publishing Company); senior author: INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY (Rinehart Press); and senior author: ESSENTIALS OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY.