Book Description: The Essential Earth, Second Edition, opens students' eyes to the physical world around them and teaches them how scientists explore it. The book presents a well-focused introduction to the basics of geology that emphasizes the process of science and how humans interact with Earth. Key features include: Chapter opening stories. Students are introduced to new areas of coverage with stories of real people and real-life events that show the remarkable contributions of geology to our everyday lives. Well-conceived art program. The Essential Earth is filled with evocative photographs, including many of geologists at work. The illustrations are colorful and clearly labeled to help students visualized important geologic processes. Coverage of topics students are already interested in. The Essential Earth connects the course to headline-making issues such as global climate change, the use of natural resources, natural hazards and environmental issues. Google Earth Projects In order to create a more active, practical approach to learning the material, and to take advantage of a popular and useful multimedia resource, we have designed focused explorations of geologic locations using Google Earth. Visual Literacy Tasks The Second Edition continues to focus on active learning by enriching core graphics in unique and effective Visual Literacy Tasks. Created in collaboration with geology education researchers Karen Kortz and Jessica Smay, these brief exercises explore a key illustration or photo through a series of conceptual questions aimed at building a comprehensive understanding.