Physical Geography

McKnight's Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation, 10th edition

     By Darrel Hess            

     Illustrated by Dennis Tasa

Several versions of this textbook are available--any of them will be fine to use in this course.   The "Second California Edition" of the textbook contains an expanded set of field guides describing the physical geography of the state (see the California Edition Field Guide Google Earth™ Tours below).  Many students like the convenience of the à la Carte ("loose-leaf") version of the textbook because it is easy to carry around just a few chapters at a time.  You may also want to consider the "eTextbook" version of the book available from Pearson ( or from CourseSmart (

An optional Study Guide book is also available.  Many (but not all) students find the Study Guide helpful.  You may use an earlier edition of the textbook, but it won't have the expanded coverage of topics you find in the new 10th edition.

New books contain an access code for the textbook Web site ( where you can view a series of animations designed to illustrate important processes in physical geography. If you have a used book, you can either purchase a new code from the textbook Web site, or go to the City College library where several copies of the 9th edition textbook animation CD are on reserve (along with copies of the Study Guide and textbook itself).

In the interest of full disclosure:  The Physical Geography textbook we use here at City College—McKnight’s Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation, 10th edition by Hess—is one that I wrote.  I also wrote the optional Study Guide that accompanies the textbook.  To avoid a financial conflict of interest, it has always been my practice to donate the royalties I earn from the sale of my books at City College to pay for teaching materials in my department, to support scholarships for our students, and to help fund projects such as The Story of Time and Life exhibit in Science Hall.  (Note:  Publishers and authors only earn revenue from the sale of new textbooks—revenue from the buyback and resale of used textbooks goes completely to bookstores or online booksellers.)


Section 001 (MWF 10:10-11:00 a.m.) Syllabus [pdf]

Section 501 (W 6:40-9:30 p.m.) Syllabus [pdf]


Physical Geography is an introduction to Earth's physical environment.  The course focuses on processes and patterns of weather and climate, the development of landforms, and map interpretation.  Special attention is given to the physical geography and natural hazards of the Bay Area and California.

Geography 1 is accepted for credit as Physical Science by the University of California and the California State University system; Geography 1 also satisfies the IGETC Physical Science course requirement.



First Midterm Examination Study Questions [pdf]

Second Midterm Examination Study Questions[pdf]

Third Midterm Examination Study Questions [pdf]

Final Examination Study Questions [pdf]


National Weather Service--San Francisco Bay Area

Weather Satellite Images--Naval Research Laboratory

Recent California Earthquakes--U.S. Geological Survey

NASA Earth Observatory--Image of the Day

Textbook Web Site--If you don't have an access code to use

      the new 10th edition Web site, you may still use the

      old 8th or 9th edition Web site.


Field Guide Google Earth™ KMZ Files

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Last updated: 12/21/2012