Digital Encyclopedia of Earth Science

Welcome to our free, open-access Earth science textbook. Over the next several years, the Digital Encyclopedia of Earth Science will grow to cover most Earth science topics. Initial subjects covered include big ideas, minerals, fossils, climate, and climate change (links below). "Quick Introductions" provide brief overviews of that will be expanded upon in later Digital Encyclopedia chapters.

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Earth Systems Science

The Big Ideas

Minerals, Rocks, Plate Tectonics, and Earth Hazards


Introduction to Rocks

Introduction to Plate Tectonics

Introduction to Earth Hazards

United States Earth Science Quick Facts (in development)

Information about the official state fossil, rock, mineral, gem, and highest and lowest point of elevation in each U.S. state, along with suggestions for places to visit in person.

Fossils, Paleontology, and Evolution

Note: Some of the links below lead to the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life, which is also managed and operated by the Paleontological Research Institution.

Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life

3D Virtual Collection

Over 500 interactive 3D models of fossil specimens from our collections and museum exhibits.

Fossils of the United States

Overviews of the fossils of each major region of the United States (in development).

Introduction to Common Fossil Groups