Physical Geology is a comprehensive introductory text on the physical aspects of geology, including rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciation, groundwater, streams, coasts, mass wasting, climate change, planetary geology and much more. It has a strong emphasis on examples from western Canada, especially British Columbia, and also includes a chapter devoted to the geological history of western Canada.
- A volcano is any location where magma comes to the surface, or has done so within the past several million years. This can include eruptions on the ocean floor (or even under the water of lake), where they are called subaqueous eruptions, or on land, where they are called subaerial eruptions. Not all volcanic eruptions produce the volcanic mountains with which we are familiar; in fact most of Earth’s volcanism takes place along the spreading ridges on the sea floor.
- Weathering is what takes place when a body of rock is exposed to the forces and conditions that exist at Earth’s surface. Weathering is a key part of the process of soil formation, which lies within the top few tens of centimeters of the Earth's surface and is important in sustaining plant growth.
- Sedimentary rocks are formed by the deposition and subsequent cementation of that material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles (detritus) to settle in place.
- Metamorphism is the change that takes place within a body of rock as a result of it being subjected to conditions that are different from those in which it formed. In most cases, but not all, this involves the rock being deeply buried beneath other rocks, where it is subjected to higher temperatures and pressures than those under which it formed. Metamorphic rocks typically have different mineral assemblages and different textures from their parent rocks, but they may have the same composition.
- Mass wasting is the geomorphic process by which soil, sand, regolith, and rock move downslope typically as a mass, largely under the force of gravity, but frequently affected by water and water content as in submarine environments and mudflows.
- Marine geology or geological oceanography is the study of the history and structure of the ocean floor. It involves geophysical, geochemical, sedimentological and paleontological investigations of the ocean floor and coastal zone.