The Best Earth Science Textbooks of 2021

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Are you looking for a textbook that will aid you in excelling in your courses?  Are you struggling in class and unable to find a text that benefits your learning style?  Don’t worry; this list is the perfect thing to get you back on track.

Imagine failing your Earth Science course because you couldn’t understand the textbook.  Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?  With so many resources available to you, there is no reason why you can’t do well in whatever class you’re taking.

The books on this list are meant for an array of expertise.  Some may be better suited for high school students, whereas others may be adapted for college.  Regardless of what your level is, we are confident that you will find something.

These texts come heavily recommended by people just like you.  For the next few minutes, you will be in the world of earth science.  Not only will we present you with some of our favorite textbooks, but we are also going to give you tips for picking one on your own.  Keep reading to discover the wonderful world of Earth Science textbooks.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top pick for Earth Science textbooks here.

Our Top Favorite
Earth Science
Our Top Runner Up
Earth System, The: Pearson New International Edition
Our Top Value Pick
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Book Title
Earth Science (15th Edition)
The Earth System: Pearson New International Edition
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Prime Eligible?
-
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Earth Science
Book Title
Earth Science (15th Edition)
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Earth System, The: Pearson New International Edition
Book Title
The Earth System: Pearson New International Edition
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Book Title
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Prime Eligible?
-

Last update: 2021-08-31

Our Favorites for Best Earth Science Textbooks

Earth Science (15th Edition) by Edward J. Tarbuck, Frederick K. Lutgens, et al.

Earth Science is a clear and straightforward text which is perfect for a beginner. You do not need a background in Earth Science to gain something from this text.  The book covers a multitude of subjects. These subjects include oceanography, geology, astronomy, and even meteorology — the items in this book aid students in visualizing the information that is presented to them. The latest edition has been updated to include new data and analytics to support your understanding and retention of the data.

What Makes it Unique:

  • This earth science textbook provides users with a clear path of study to ensure that they are grasping the material and retaining it.
  • Each chapter includes numbered learning objectives that correspond to chapter sections. These also allow them to identify the knowledge to be obtained in the chapter but to prioritize concepts as well. If for any reason, students are confused at the end of the chapter, they can revisit the objective, which is causing them trouble.
  • Concept Checks have also been included throughout each chapter to allow you to gauge your understanding of the material before the chapter ends. You no longer have to wait until the section is done to address your confusion.
  • Earth Science also aims to strengthen your awareness of real-world issues and answer questions to develop your knowledge further.
  • If you are a tech-savvy learner, the text uses dynamic medic like QR codes to keep students connected to information. There are even QR codes that allow users to take “mobile field trips.” These trips take students to places like Fire and Ice Land, the formation of a water gap, and much more.

Why Choose this Earth Science Book:

  • If you require a Geology book, you can also purchase this text as a bundle with Mastering Geology. Mastering Geology is a tool that allows students to utilize digital tools to grasp difficult Earth science concepts. This online learning environment also aids students in customizing their learning experience and further exploring items which they are unfamiliar with.
  • If you are a visual learner, outside of the dynamic media, the book provides, the latest edition of the text has added more than 100 high-quality images. These include satellite and aerial images, as well.

On Sale
Earth Science
  • Tarbuck, Edward (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 800 Pages - 08/31/2017 (Publication Date) - Pearson (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Earth: Portrait of a Planet (Sixth Edition) by Stephen Marshak

Earth: Portrait of a Planet is a highly recommended text and for a good reason.  The author has created a book that provides several tools for facilitating learning.  The exercises and items within the text allow students to not only read and learn about them but to apply them in real life as well. The text provides several media resources that will expand on concepts presented throughout the text. The book offers up to date information and is an asset to all those who read it.

What Makes it Unique:

  • This introduction to physical geology provides several tools that are accessible to students. These include interactive simulations, real-world videos, and even animations.
  • Stephen Marshak presents the information in a narrative style and aims to help students visualize the data.
  • The beginning of each chapter provides users with information on what they should be able to accomplish after they complete a chapter. This includes objectives like using a map to show earthquake distributions and sketching a cross-section of a plate.
  • The text is filled with orange boxes that provide “Did You Know” information, quick questions, and take-home messages to users. These areas help students ensure they are retaining the information they are receiving and allow them to circle back on things they do not know.
  • Each chapter provides students with a summary of the essential concepts, key terms, and their corresponding page numbers and review questions. Students are also offered items to further their thinking as well as provide them with extra resources.

Why Choose this Earth Science Book:

  • Earth: Portrait of a Planet is nicely organized and written in a manner that is clear and understandable for all levels of knowledge. The text is easily able to sustain reader interest while deepening their understanding of the planet.
  • If you are looking for a book that breaks down complex principles, this is the text for you. Many students also said that excellent Imagery is also one of the prominent reasons they are able to grasp the material so well.
  • This text has been the reason many students were able to pass their Earth Science courses successfully.

On Sale
Earth: Portrait of a Planet
  • Marshak, Stephen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1008 Pages - 12/01/2018 (Publication Date) - W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Runner Ups for Best Earth Science Textbooks

The Earth System: Pearson New International Edition by Lee R Kump & James F Kasting

The Earth System isn’t your standard Earth Science textbook.  Instead of taking a traditional approach to Earth Sciences, it looks to examine issues of global change within the environment. The book offers information on Earth’s history that influences the way decisions should be made today.

This is a pivotal text as it is one of the first of its kind.  Earth System is excellent for both science and non-science majors.  This makes it one of the best earth science textbooks. However, it does have a heavy emphasis on quantitative analytics.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Earth System wants to help you think and retain information. Each chapter includes several questions that are designed to help you think, as well as recommended readings.
  • Krump and Kasting have also introduced two new chapters aimed at further informing students about global warming. These two chapters look at historical data and government reports assessing the severity of it all. They also look at the human aspect associated with global warming and break down how our behaviors are affecting the world.
  • The Thinking Quantitatively sections of the book aim to prepare students for higher-level courses.

Why Choose this Earth Science Book:

  • If you are looking for a text which will go into the details of global warming and emphasizes global change, this is the text for you.
  • Earth System is highly recommended for individuals looking to pursue a career in geoscience. The book provides an interdisciplinary overview of the planet.

Earth System, The: Pearson New International Edition
  • Kump, Lee (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Pearson Education Limited (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Essentials of Geology (13th Edition) by Frederick K. Lutgens, Edward J. Tarbuck & Dennis Tasa

Essentials of Geology is an excellent text for individuals taking physical geology or introduction to geology courses.  The book possesses a writing style that is easy for students to understand and read.  The version is not only accurate but visually appealing to all. It includes up to date information and even coverage of current events.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Essentials of Geology comes with special interest boxes that have been placed throughout the text. These boxes highlight geologic events.  They also aid users in seeing the Earth as a system.
  • The authors understood the importance of imagery in earth science textbooks and have provided new images and photographs to up their visual presence. Essentials of Geology also contains illustrations by Dennis Tasa that are not only accurate but appealing when used as a learning aid.
  • Each chapter begins with an opening question. This question aims to emphasize vital information within the upcoming chapter.
  • Along with the book itself, users are also able to gain access to a multitude of media that can be used for learning. This includes a newly updated companion website that provides chapter tutorials and essay questions.  Students also receive a GEODe III CD-ROM. With this CD, instructors can assign activities and track their use of the CD.

Why Choose this Earth Science Book:

  • Many users can agree that the text is packed with exciting information and is an easy read. Some even mentioned that it makes them excited to learn geology.
  • Essentials of Geology is intended to be used as a university level. However, this book is recommended for students who, though, may not need it for a class, have a deep interest in learning about Earth Science.

On Sale
Essentials of Geology
  • Lutgens, Frederick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 608 Pages - 01/04/2017 (Publication Date) - Pearson (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Foundations of Earth Science (8th Edition) by Frederick K. Lutgens, Edward J. Tarbuck, et al.

If you are looking for a textbook for students with little to no Earth Science background, then today is your lucky day.  Foundations of Earth Science are perfect for college students who are lacking knowledge of the sciences.  The text is highly visual and student-focused.  Unlike some other texts on this list, it is not heavily technical.

Foundations of Earth Science is also the shortened versions of Earth Science by Lutgens and Tarbuck.  This book is one that will not overwhelm and is generally used for introductory courses.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Foundations of Earth Science heavily appeal to the tech-savvy student. With the addition of Mobile Field Trips, Project Condor videos, and GigaPan Activities, there is no shortage of available information.
  • Project condor videos have been created with narrations and annotations of the Mountainous Region to aid students in learning about terraces, monoclines, and more.
  • GigaPan Activities have been developed by Carnegie Mellon and NASA to simulate a field experience for students. A similar item to the GigaPan activities is the mobile field trips.  These trips take students to a variety of iconic locations with a variety of geologists.
  • Each chapter opens with Focus Concepts. These Concepts list the objectives for the chapter ahead.  The Concepts in Review are another aspect that mimics the Focus Concepts.  This end of chapter review is structured around the learning objectives and help students ensure they have grasped the needed concepts.

Why Choose this Earth Science Book:

  • Foundations of Earth Science provides an abundance of information and links which are available to users. These links may be more easily accessible through the eBook.
  • Text explanations are easy to understand, and the book provides a wealth of information. It introduces information that is interesting and makes the reader enjoy the text.
  • This is a required text for many college students, yet most students appreciate it for its condensed style and lighter weight.

On Sale
Foundations of Earth Science (Masteringgeology)
  • Lutgens, Frederick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 02/19/2016 (Publication Date) - Pearson (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-08-31


Value Picks for Best Earth Science Textbooks

Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition by Brian J. Skinner and Barbara W. Murck

Blue Planet an Introduction to Earth System Science aims to give students a better understanding of the four spheres of the earth. It focuses on the hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. The aim of the text is to get the user to understand how these spheres are related, as well as how they interact. Blue Planet also ensures that you, the student, understand the basics of science.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Blue Planet an Introduction to Earth System Science includes a section entitled Closer Look. Closer Look gives an in-depth explanation of topics and even focuses on how they are applied.
  • The text slowly describes the various levels of the Earth, matter, and even plate tectonics. The book is divided into three parts based on the multiple spheres of the Earth.
  • Blue Planet an Introduction to Earth System Science also provides a companion site. This site features tours of the earth and a variety of other chapter resources.
  • The book contains an abundance of helpful diagrams and illustrations that further enforce the information within it. Blue Planet an Introduction to Earth System Science goes above and beyond the necessary information needed to be successful using the text.

Why Choose this Earth Science Book:

  • This is a great book to use as a supplemental text. Some users even used the text to brush up on Earth Science concepts.
  • Students enjoyed the simple and straightforward explanations of even the most complex concepts.
  • Blue Planet an Introduction to Earth System Science is an excellent text for users who may not be students but have a substantial interest in environmental issues.

On Sale
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Skinner, Brian J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-08-31


How to Choose the Best Earth Science Textbook for You

Several factors must be taken into account when looking for the perfect Earth Science book. Earth Science covers several topics, and you must be sure you are prepared to pick the text specific to your area of focus. Use the listing below to find the best questions to ask when you begin searching for a suitable textbook.

  • What type of book are you looking for? One of the most basic things that you can do is pick the type of text you are looking for. You must ask yourself if you are looking for a supplemental text or something to use as a reference for a similar course.
  • Is this text required for a specific class?  If your text is required, there isn’t much you can do outside of purchasing the text. However, if you are not fond of the text, you can always purchase a previous version or a “helper text” if the book is not up to your standard.
  • What is my current level of expertise? One thing you should not do is pick a text which is at an expert level, and you are a beginner. You should select a book which corresponds with your level of understanding or the level you are aiming to obtain.
  • How does the author’s background influence the text? One thing you don’t want is an Earth Science textbook written by a computer programmer or a nurse. The author’s history can be a tremendous help when thinking of the level of detail that will go into the text.
  • What educational level will this book be used for?Lastly, you do not want to purchase an eighth-grade text if you are looking to utilize the book for a college-level course. Make sure you understand your educational aim and base your search around it.

Finding the perfect text can be a difficult task. However, answering the questions above may drastically narrow your search for the best textbook.

Wrapping Up the Best Earth Science Textbooks

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:

Our Top Favorite
Earth Science
Our Top Runner Up
Earth System, The: Pearson New International Edition
Our Top Value Pick
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Book Title
Earth Science (15th Edition)
The Earth System: Pearson New International Edition
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Prime Eligible?
-
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Earth Science
Book Title
Earth Science (15th Edition)
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Earth System, The: Pearson New International Edition
Book Title
The Earth System: Pearson New International Edition
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Book Title
Blue Planet An Introduction to Earth System Science, 3rd Edition
Prime Eligible?
-

Last update: 2021-08-31

There are several textbooks on this list that can help you grasp a better understanding of Earth Science.  There is no one size fits all when picking the perfect book. That all depends on your personal preferences.  There are many texts on this list that can be used for supplemental books and resources.

One crowd favorite, in particular, is Earth Science. This text is highly recommended and a fundamental read for grasping the basics of Earth Science.  It includes information on a multitude of subjects and visualizations. Another excellent text is Earth Systems.

Earth Systems is aimed at getting students to further their thinking and finds exciting ways to help them retain information.  It also goes into detail on global warming and its effects. Blue Planet an Introduction to Earth System Science is a text which focuses on the various spheres of the Earth. It provides students with an abundance of supplemental information and companion applications to keep them focused.

These texts provide users with a variety of information and a wealth of knowledge. If you are still confused about what to look for in a text, use the questions listed above to supplement it. Our main goal is to provide you with books that will adequately prepare you for your Earth Science courses.

Did you find this post helpful? Then be sure to check out our other textbook reviews here.

Taking ecology? We cover the best ecology textbooks here or the best physical science textbooks here.

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