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1A Earth Sciences - Reading List & Resources

This reading list is intended to include the major texts that are in press that cover this course. Most of these books should be available in your college libraries. There may be other (older) texts available that cover the same material either in college libraries, or recommended by lecturers through the year. Recent texts are indicated thus ‘N’. Texts indicated with asterisks will be of use in more than one section of the course, and those marked ‘***’ are particularly recommended. Where the text is available as an e-book the link has been included. Please contact the library if you have any queries about this page.

1A collections screen shotResource: 1A Reference Series: Rocks, Minerals & Fossils 


This website houses photographs and descriptions of the specimens found in the 1A (first year) Reference Series at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. This series is a collection of rocks, minerals and fossils used to aid the first year Geology students in their practical revision. It is not an exhaustive collection, but includes the range of specimens with which the first year students should become familiar. You may also want to use The Virtual Microscope web site in conjunction with the Reference series - or Vice Versa


Reading List

Recent texts are indicated thus ‘N’. Texts indicated with asterisks will be of use in more than one section of the course, and those marked ‘***’ are particularly recommended.

Introductory texts

  • *** Davidson, JP. Reed, WE, & Davis, PM, 1997. Exploring Earth: an introduction to physical geology. Prentice-Hall. 2nd ed 2002
  • ***N Langmuir, C.H., & Broecker, W.S., 2012. How to Build a Habitable Planet. Princetown University Press. ebook
  • **N Kearey P., Klepais, K.A. & Vine F.J., 2009, Global Tectonics 3rd edition. Blackwell. ebook
  • **N Press, F. 2004, Understanding Earth. Freeman
  • * Duff, D (ed), 1994. Holmes’ principles of physical geology, Chapman and Hall (do not get older editions).
  • Lunine, JI, 2013. Earth: evolution of a habitable world 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press. Ebook
  • Skinner, B.J., Porter, S.C., Park, J. & Freeman, T. 2006, The Dynamic Earth. Wiley.
  • Seager, Sara 2013 Exoplanet Habitability, Science , 340:577-581.

What's the Earth made of? Earth & other planets

  • ***N Cornelis Klein and Tony Philpotts, 2013, Earth Materials: Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology, Cambridge University Press.
  • ***N Deer, W.A., Howie, R.A. and Zussman, J, 2013. “An Introduction to the rock forming minerals”. Mineralogical Society.
  • *** MacKenzie, W.S. and Guildford, C. “Atlas of Rock-Forming Minerals in Thin Section.” (Longman)
  • * Brown, GC et al, 1992. Understanding the Earth, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press.
  • * Duff, D (ed), 1994. Holmes’ principles of physical geology, Chapman and Hall (do not get older editions).
  • * Fowler, CMR, 2004. The solid Earth. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press. Contains much of the geophysics that a petrologist should know.
  • Putnis, Andrew, 1992, “Introduction to Mineral Sciences.” (Cambridge University Press)
  • Wenk, Hans-Rudolf  and Andrei Bulakh, 2004, “Minerals. Their constitution and origin.” (Cambridge University Press) ebook
  • Vernon, Ron H. 2004, “A practical guide to rock microstructure.” (Cambridge University Press) ebook
  • Battey, MH & Pring, A, 1997, Mineralogy for Students (3rd edition). Longman
  • Cox, KG, Price, NB & Harte, B 1988, An introduction to the practical study of crystals, minerals and rocks. McGraw-Hill.
  • MacKenzie, WS & Adams, AE, 1994, A colour atlas of rocks and minerals in thin section, Manson.
  • Scientific American “The Dynamic Earth” Sept. 1983. Chapters on “The Mantle”, “The Core”. - Good introduction to units 15-24.
  • N Schubert, G., Turcotte, D.L. and Olson P., 2001. “Mantle convection in the Earth and planets”. (Cambridge University Press). Ebook



  • ***N Nichols, G. 2009. Sedimentology and stratigraphy, 2nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell. 419 pp. ISBN 978-1-4051-3592-4. Earth Sciences Library B.05.776.1 ebook
  • Stow, D.A.V. 2005. Sedimentary rocks in the field : a colour guide. Manson, 320 pp. ISBN 1-87454-569-3. Earth Sciences Library B.43.59M
  • N Tucker, M.E. 2011. Sedimentary rocks in the field. 4th edition, Wiley, 288 pp. ISBN 0-47085-123-6 Earth Sciences Library B.03.380.6 (3rd edn) ebook 2001
  • Collinson, J.D., Mountney, N. & Thompson, D.B. 2006. Sedimentary structures. 3rd Edition. Terra. 292 pp. ISBN 1-90354-419-X. Earth Sciences Library B.05.438 (2nd edn).
  • Allen, PA, 1997, Earth surface processes. Blackwells. 416 pp. ISBN 0-632-03507-2. Earth Sciences Library B.05.746 ebook



  • *** Cronin, T.M., 2010. Paleoclimates: Understanding Climate Change Past and Present. Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0-231-14494-0
  • Imbrie, J. and Imbrie, K.P., 1979. Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery. Harvard University Press, ISBN: 0-674-44075-7, 224 pp.
  • IPCC AR4 (2007). Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. Available on line at:
  • Peixoto, J. and Oort, A.H., 1992. Physics of Climate, Chapter 6, AIP, ISBN 0-88318-711-6, 520pp.
  • Ruddiman, W.F., 2001. Earth's climate: past and future. W.H. Freeman and company, ISBN 0-7167-3741-8 (pbk.), 465 pp.+ xxi
  • Trenberth, K., Fasullo, J., Kiehl, J. (2009). Earth’s global energy budget. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. March 2009, 311-323. ejournal



  • Conway-Morris, S. (2003) Life’s solution: inevitable humans in a lonely universe. Cambridge. Ebook
  • Clarkson, E.N.K., 1993. “Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution” (4th edition). Blackwells. Ebook
  • Raup, D.M. & Stanley, S.M., 1978. “Principles of Paleontology” (2nd edition). Freeman.
  • Kemp, T.S. 1999. “Fossils and Evolution”. Oxford. 
  • Benton, M. & Harper, D. (1997) Basic palaeontology. Addison Wesley Longman. 
  • Knoll, A.H. (2004). Life on a young planet: The first three billion years of evolution on Earth. Princeton.
  • N Foote, M. & Miller, A. 2007. Principles of Paleontology. Freeman. £40.99. ISBN: 071670613X [NB. This is the successor to D.M. Raup & S.M. Stanley’s Principles of Paleontology.]
  • N Thomson, K. 2005. Fossils: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press. £6.99. ISBN: 9780192805041 Miller. ebook







  • Woodcock, N.H. & Strachan, R.A. (2012) Geological history of Britain and Ireland. (Second edition) Wiley-Blackwell (or first edition, 2000) Ebook
  • Hunter, A. & Easterbrook, G. (2004) The Geological History of the British Isles. Open University.

Link to items on the list held by the Betty & Gordon Moore Library - you will need to be logged in to Raven to access this